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Government set to develop it’s own Ugandan version of Facebook

A few months ago prior to the elections government ordered the shutdown and subsequent ban of social media giant tech company Facebook from operating in Uganda.

This came after a series of Facebook deactivating accounts that belonged to the ruling NRM bloggers most notably Ashburg Kato and Jennifer Full figure.

This angered the President and whom these were people were working for, canvassing for votes and promoting his campaign manifesto on social media since the campaigns were scientific.

Even after the reinstallation of internet and social media after the January 14th elections, Facebook was not reinstated and even though Ugandans can access it, it’s done illegally via the use of virtual protection networks (VPN).

With the look of things, it seems like the app might have operated it’s last days in Uganda as government announced that it’s set to develop it’s own version of the social media app and details will be announced soon.

While appearing on the 3rd edition of the Spotlight Ug, an e-conference that aims at giving insights and prospects of the ICT sector in Uganda on Monday, Vincent Bagiire the Permanent secretary of the ministry of Information and Communications Technology said that government will soon put out a call to Ugandans to help in the creation of the Ugandan version of Facebook that will be exported too.

ICT permanent secretary Vincent Bagiire. (Photo NBS)

Bagiire resonated the earlier sentiments echoed by the President that such companies were working in Uganda tax free yet trying to dictate Ugandan affairs. He said that such companies had to come and sit on a round table with the policy makers and come to an agreement on how to smoothly run operations for the benefit of one another.

We have national laws and they can’t operate in the country without adhering to those laws. We must find a balance where we can engage with Facebook at the same level,” Bagiire exppained.

Bagiire said that Uganda has an estimated 18 million internet users with Facebook contributing only 3 million people to that tally and therefore he doesn’t think it’s cut off affected the use of internet in Uganda.

This is in contradiction with Facebook numbers which indicated at the turn of the year that Facebook users in Uganda had reached 20 million people.

Bagiire went ahead to urge Ugandans to be innovative and come up with their own ideas technologically and government will support them.

At an appropriate time, we shall put out a call so that Ugandans can develop their own social media platforms that we also can export. Countries like China don’t rely on Facebook, they have their own platform,”  Bagiire narrated

It should be recalled that on March 1st while meeting NRM supporters at State House Entebbe, President Museveni lashed out at the giant tech company and continued to show his detest for the social media app.

Ever since Facebook went, have you heard of any shortage of sugar in town? Do you not have clothes? Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God,”  the president said

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Written by sigmund

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