2 weeks ago, on February 18, Uganda, a 241,038 km2 country in East Africa went to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections. Yoweri museveni, the incumbent, president since 29 January 1986, is characterised by mainstream media as dictatorial, authoritarian and exerting his influence by force.
“On election day, Ugandans woke up to no social media and no mobile money services. Nearly 20 million mobile money users were unable to access the service for at least two-and-half days.”
The government, through a state directive, had ordered the shutdown of key mobile money service without any public notice, effectively imposing a censorship on money for 3 days.
Mobile money is a centrally issued money that runs on a SIM toolkit application. It is pegged to the local currency 1:1 and run by Telecommunications companies. It is a big deal in East Africa, where, close to 100 million people use it everyday. Over the years, it has evolved from more than just cash transfers to include savings, payment of utility bills (such as water, rent and electricity), shopping, receiving dividends, diaspora remittances and paying government taxes. The East African says
“Consumers in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania last year transacted $45.75 billion through their