Election Watch

UCC Refutes Allegations to Block Internet, Mobile Money On Polling Day

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has come out to refute rumours circulating that the government directed all Telecoms and Internet Service providers to switch off all social media and mobile money on polling day.

“We don’t know of any such directive either from government or from the Commission, a part from seeing it online,” UCC spokesperson Ibrahim Bbosa told this website on Wednesday morning.

The reports alleged that the government’s letter to ISP directed the shutdown of Mobile data services (Country wide)-Excluding NON-GSM, Mobile data service (Regional cluster) Excluding NON-GSM, Mobile data services (Country wide) including NON-GSM, and mobile data (Regional cluster) including NON-GSM.

Other services that were to be shutdown, according to the reports included “Voice, SMS and Data (country wide and full network shutdown, Voice, SMS and Data (Network shutdown on Regional cluster). Data (country wide excluding dedicated APN, Data (Regional cluster excluding dedicated APN and finally MOMO services both country wide and regional cluster”.

But the UCC which is the licencing body for all telecoms and Internet Service providers has totally denied knowledge of the said directive.

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In 2016, authorities switched off social media and mobile money transactions – citing “national security’’ as the motivation behind restrictions.

Government said that the platforms were being used to incite violence and justified their shutdown as a means to ensure a peaceful election period.

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Ugandans would however navigate around the directive by resorting to use of Virtual Private Networks to access the blocked sites.

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