Uganda | “Ghetto President” Challenges Old Iron Grapple: Ugandan Government Prepares for Elections by Shutting Down Social Media

Elections will be held in Uganda on Thursday in an extremely tense atmosphere.

Young a reggae star or an iron grapple aspiring to a forty-year reign?

This is the crystallization of Uganda’s presidential election, which will take place on Thursday alongside the parliamentary elections.

The elections in Uganda in East Africa have been attracting worldwide attention for months now, as the situation, especially in the presidential election, is exciting – and especially dangerous for opponents of the old power.

Uganda, with a population of about 45 million, has been ruled by authoritarian rule for 35 years Yoweri Museveni, 76. If he won the election, he would have the opportunity to extend his reign for up to 40 years.

Musevenin challenge the election pop star and MP Bobi Wine, 38, real name Robert Kyagulanyi. He has become a favorite of young people in particular, and the majority of Ugandans are young.

Museven has nine other challengers, but Winea is considered the main opponent.

Wine rose from the slums of the capital Kampala to great popularity and went into politics a few years ago specifically to oppose the Museven regime and the corruption and nepotism that nestled there. As a result, the Museven administration has virtually banned Wine from playing music and holding concerts in Uganda.

Also read: Reggae star Bobi Wine considers himself an unsuitable leader for Uganda, but he is the dictator’s worst challenger in the January election

Hard extracts have also been used during the election campaign. Wine has been arrested and police have killed his supporters who have demonstrated and rioted in the streets.

Last Monday, soldiers attacked Wine’s home while he was giving an interview to a Kenyan radio station.

“I see soldiers beating my security guard,” Wine said before he had to hang up the phone.

Supporters of Bobi Win aka Robert Kyagulanyi danced on the street in Kampala on Tuesday.­

Human rights organizations have accused Ugandan security forces of using excessive force in opposition elections. Dozens of people have died in clashes between security forces and opposition supporters.

According to the administration, Wine’s campaign has repeatedly violated the assembly restrictions imposed due to the corona pandemic.

Tuesday Secretary – General of the United Nations António Guterres called on politicians and Ugandan security forces to respect human rights and do their utmost for peaceful elections. In particular, Guterres called for an end to incitement to violence and and hate speech, his spokesman Stéphane Dujarric said the news agency AFP.

In addition to opposition candidates and supporters, post-election journalists and election observers have been attacked in Uganda, raising concerns about election transparency, AFP says.

The election campaign also escalated this week into a media war involving the Ugandan regime and international social media giants.

On Monday, Facebook announced it had closed a number of Ugandan accounts, the traces of which led to the Ugandan Ministry of Communications. According to Facebook, fake and duplicated accounts had been used against political service for political propaganda.

“They used fake and copied accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate others, and share updates posted to groups to make them seem more popular than they are,” Facebook told Reuters in a statement.

The next day, the Ugandan regime seemed to strike back. Ugandans tried in vain to access Facebook, Whatsapp, and other social media platforms, but the administration had shut them down.

The closure of social media will have an impact, above all, on opposition candidates and their campaigning.

On television speaking in military uniform, Museveni accused the opposition of inciting fear and threatened retaliation.

“There’s no threat we couldn’t counter,” Museveni said on Reuters on Tuesday.

“We have a variety of ways to do that, simple and complex.”

Musevenia has previously been seen as an example of a promising African leader committed to good governance.

Museveni rose to power with a military coup in 1986 and succeeded in stabilizing Uganda after decades of violent dictatorships. He has been praised for, among other things, overcoming the AIDS epidemic and solid economic growth.

During the reign of Museven, Uganda has also become a strong regional player, having been involved in the wars in the neighborhood but also in peacekeeping.

After getting up to power Museveni said Africa’s biggest problems are leaders who refuse to relinquish power.

Over the years, however, Museveni has made constitutional reforms that have allowed his own reign to continue. He has won all the elections, and his challengers have always been treated violently by security forces.

Most Ugandans have not lived under presidents other than the Museven regime.

Thursday’s election measures how much the young generation respects a leader who aspires to a record of staying in power.

“The dictatorship is in a panic,” challenger Bobi Wine wrote on Twitter in late December.

“They are surprised by the tremendous enthusiasm and support we have encountered across the country.”

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