The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Vicent Bagiire, has said that government will soon put out a call so that Ugandans can develop their own ‘Facebook’ which will be exported.
Bagiire made these remarks while appearing on the 3rd edition of Spotlight UG, an E-Conference that aimed to give insights and prospects of the ICT sector in Uganda, on Monday evening.
Facebook in Uganda has been blocked since January 12th, when social media platforms were restricted by the government in a bid to curtail hate speech during the January general elections.
Although the internet and other social media platforms like Twitter and WhatsApp were later restored, Facebook remains blocked.
Explaining this, Bagiire said that the government is trying to ensure that these global entities such as Facebook which make money from Ugandans, can come to the government and agree on fairgrounds.
“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 said.
Bagiire said that Uganda has about 18 million internet users while Ugandans on Facebook are only about 3 million and by it being off, the government does not think that the whole internet usage experience was affected.
He said that Ugandans should come up with their own social media platforms 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 said.
On March 1st, while meeting a group of NRM supporters at the State House in Entebbe, President Yoweri Museveni castigated the tech giants for acting bias to the NRM and its supporters. He said that their blockage in Uganda will not affect important things.
“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,” Museveni said.