Facebook traders in Uganda have issued a 14 day ultimatum to the government, demanding the reopening of the social media site, but the Minister for ICT and National Guidance, Dr. Chris Baryomunsi, remains resolute in the government’s decision to keep Facebook closed.
During a press briefing in Kampala, Badru Kabogoza Nsamu, the chairperson of the Urban Smart Traders Association (USTA), stressed the importance of Facebook as a significant platform for their trade. He lamented the financial losses incurred due to the platform’s closure, asserting that Facebook serves as both a business and marketing platform, not just a political one.
The lawyer for USTA, Luyimbazi Nalukoola, emphasized that the government’s actions amount to a violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms. He also stated that if Facebook is not unblocked within 14 days from the notice, legal proceedings will be initiated, and the government will be required to pay a sum of 200 billion shillings as compensation for the suffering experienced by USTA members.
Nalukoola further pointed out that Facebook is a crucial digital platform for promoting Ugandan products and services internationally. The continued closure of Facebook threatens the online economic network, which plays a significant role in promoting import, export, tourism, sports, music, and art to the rest of the world.