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Uganda on Monday protested Facebook’s closure of accounts belonging to supporters of incumbent President Yoweri Museveni ahead of the Thursday general elections.

Don Wanyama, Museveni’s spokesperson told Xinhua by telephone that the closure of more than 50 accounts by the tech giant and Twitter is unfair.

“The President’s supporters have been unfairly blocked by those tech giants. We need fair playing ground on social media,” Wanyama, whose Facebook and Instagram accounts were also blocked, said.

He described the blocking of the accounts as “tech-colonialism”.

Wanyama said the tech giants were being used by opponents of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) party to stifle pro-NRM voices.

“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of NRM supporters. You can take away your platforms, you won’t take away Museveni’s votes,” Wanyama said.

Frank Tumwebaze, another Uganda government official, also protested the blocking of the social media accounts of the supporters of NRM.

“Please International Telecommunications Union Secretary General, one of the threats we must speak against in our digital ecosystem is this abuse of communication platforms by tech giants,” Tumwebaze, who is the minister of gender labor and social development, said.

“Connectivity should not be a right to enjoy at the mercy of tech giants. Facebook should unblock selectively targeted Ugandan accounts ASAP,” the minister added.

Museveni will faceoff with other 10 candidates in the Thursday elections that observers say are likely to be contested.

In the midst of COVID-19, Uganda banned mass campaign rallies, with candidates being permitted to address crowds of not more than 200 people. Candidates and their supporters resorted to social media to reach their intended electorates. Enditem

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