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Social media blocked as Ugandans vote in presidential election

Social media blocked as Ugandans vote in presidential election

Uganda

Social media sites including facebook and twitter as well as mobile money services have been blocked in Uganda as people vote in a presidential election.

Local media NBS Television in a series of tweets said the Ugandan Communications Commission confirmed receiving directions from the country’s Electoral Commission to block the sites.

The sites are expected to be unblocked after the security situation has been assessed.

Media houses and several citizens had planned to share live updates on the election process on social media. Some political parties had also planned to use the platforms to receive updates from their agents on the field.

Many have however resorted to alternatives means of communication including email and Whatsapp.

Ugandans are voting in a crucial presidential election which will determine if President Yoweri Museveni can extend his three decade rule.

Polls opened at 7am local time (0400 GMT) but voting delayed at most polling stations across the country leading to concerns among some voters.

President Museveni is facing competition from seven opposition candidates.

Key among his contenders are veteran opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who has had 3 failed attempts at the presidency and former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi, who until recently was a close ally of the president.

Museveni, 71, came to power in 1986 after waging a five-year guerrilla war.

He is hailed by many Ugandans as providing decades of relative peace and economic stability. But his rivals are drawing strength from a clamour for fresh leadership.

More than 15 million people are eligible to cast their ballots.

Voting is expected to end at 4pm local time (1300 GMT).

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