Uganda’s internet shutdown has been described as a “textbook case of pre-meditated, pre-election internet blackout,” as connectivity was restored after incumbent President Yoweri Museveni was declared winner for a record sixth term.
Internet connectivity was restored after five days of blackout and rose to 90% on Monday but extensive social media and messaging restrictions remained, internet monitor Netblocks told CNN.
“This was a textbook case,” said Alp Toker, founder of the London-based agency. “The networks still running were generally infrastructure-related or state-run,” he added.
Bobi Wine – a singer-turned-politician, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi – came a far second in the vote, according to the country’s election commission.
He has been under house arrest after military surrounded his home on Friday, he said. Heavily armed military and police raided his party offices in Kampala on Monday, an administrator tweeted from Wine’s official Twitter account.
Wine has rejected the election results, describing them as rigged and called on the country to dismiss the results.
Wine said he had evidence of fraud and intimidation, but he did not provide details of what evidence he had, saying his team would share it when communications lines were restored.
He had earlier accused the electoral commission of vote rigging.
When contacted for comment by CNN, President Museveni’s office did not reply at the time of writing.
Museveni’s house arrest of Wine and blocking of the internet were met with international condemnation over the weekend.
Jake Sullivan, National Security Advisor for United States President-elect Joe Biden, described the news as “deeply concerning.”
“Bobi Wine, other political figures, and their supporters should not be harmed, and those who perpetrate political violence must be held accountable,” he said in a tweet on Sunday. “After this flawed election, the world is watching.”
UN Watch, a non-profit human rights organization, sent mock congratulations to Museveni on his re-election saying he won after “imprisoning and silencing opponents” and “shutting down the internet.”