Government will provide free internet to residents of Kampala, Wakiso and Mukono on election day, January 14, 2021, we can exclusively report.
Sources have told The Rogue that government took the decision at a recent meeting where it was pointed out that those three districts have the highest number of voters.
Secondly, providing free internet data is aimed at preventing people from crowding at polling stations, something that could fuel the spread of Covid-19.
“Election day is a crucial day. People need to follow what is going on. But you have to remember that there is Covid-19 in those areas and we don’t want people to gather at polling stations. They can communicate using the phones,” a senior government official knowledgeable about the plan told The Rogue.
The official said only residents with smartphones and who are above 18 years of age will benefit from this offer.
There had been speculation that government intends to disconnect internet services on election day like it did in 2016.
However, the official maintained that this will not happen.
“In 2016, some of our overzealous colleagues pushed for the disconnection of the internet. Now we are a democratic country and we respect people’s freedom to express themselves. We won’t take the same route,” the official assured.
Each resident shall be given 1 GB of data which will be valid for 25 hours. The data will be reconfigured such that it can be used on any network.
Asked by The Rogue whether this free internet is not a ploy by government to “bribe” voters in the three districts known for supporting the opposition, the official laughed off the claims.
“How can you bribe someone with internet data? In any case many people who live in these areas are well off. We could have taken this offer to other parts of the country,” he said.
He said the free offer is an appreciation to the people of those districts who contribute the biggest revenue to government in form of taxes.
To get free internet, residents will be expected to fill in a digital form stipulating their names and actual places of residence before January 12.
The form will be sent via a link in an SMS message, two days to the election.
The Rogue is a satirical column that runs once a week on The Nile Post.