Several social media platforms have been blocked in Uganda due to security concerns surrounding the upcoming presidential elections. The blocks include sites such as Facebook, Twitte, and WhatsApp.
Some of those security concerns include clashes between supporters of the different candidates, in addition to delays at polling stations resulting in fights among those waiting to vote.
In addition to the social media, officials have also blocked mobile money services in order to ensure that voters are not being bribed.
Right now, current President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled for 30 years, is hoping to continue on as president. His opponents include Kizza Besigye (a former physician), and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi.
With claims of cheating, bribing, and the use of propaganda, officials were moved to block social media networks in order to reduce the negative influence of social media messages to voters.
However, users are finding ways around the controversial restrictions with the help of candidate Mbabazi:
Good morning. I hope voting is going well at your polling station? To access Twitter, Whatsapp and Facebook use Tunnelbear VPN.
— Amama Mbabazi (@AmamaMbabazi) February 18, 2016
Uganda’s head media regulator, Godfrey Mutabazi, said the block was suggested by the electoral commission, and Ugandan mobile operator MTN confirmed that it had received an order to shut down social media services.
Even with the restrictions to social media access, the hashtag #UgandaDecides is still trending on Twitter.