Uganda's government orders internet providers to cut off the Internet

Uganda's shutdown of the Internet shows how a government can cut off the Internet in less than one day.

Uganda's government orders internet providers to cut off the Internet

This week, Uganda's government ordered ISPs (Internet Service Providers) to cut off the internet to all users in the country, amid elections.

Uganda Communications Commission sent a letter to the internet operators where it states that "In exercise of its functions under sections 5(1) and 56 of the Uganda Communications Act of 2013, Uganda Communications Commission hereby directs you to implement a temporary suspension of the operation of all your Internet Gateways and associated access points. This suspension should take effect at 7 pm this day of 13th January 2021 and continue until otherwise directed." The letter is signed by Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, the executive director.

Uganda is a country in East-Central Africa, with borders with Kenya, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, and Tanzania. Uganda has a population of 45 million persons.

Uganda's population is without Internet since 13th January. This is confirmed by UIXP (Uganda Internet eXchange Point), and by Cloudflare.

Irene Kaggwa Sewankambo, the executive director of Uganda Communications Commission, tweeted for the last time on 11th January. The Uganda Communications Commission’s website is offline.

Here her last tweet before order the Internet shutdown in Uganda:

This month, Facebook shut down linked accounts to Uganda's information ministry. Facebook says the ministry used the fake accounts to "manage pages, comment on other people's content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular than they were."

Uganda had elections on Thursday, 14 January. According to BBC, Uganda's long-time leader Yoweri Museveni was declared election winner, with almost 59% of the vote. Bobi Wine, the opposition leader, is disputing the validity of the elections.

The US Department “note the continued nationwide shutdown of the Internet and call for its immediate restoration along with that of social media services.” The European Union until now has not provided any assessment about the Uganda elections, or about the Internet shutdown.

Why this matter? This shows how the Internet can be shutdown in less than one day. The Internet in Uganda is off now for more than four days. BBC says Uganda's government promised to reestablish the internet connections soon.

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