The Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) has announced the government through the relevant government agencies plans to launch a social media platform for and by Ugandans. A move the UCC defends as it will lower internet costs and enable the East African country to rely less on American products.
“That is one of the projects we are working on next year. There is an investor who is bringing our own social media platforms. Instead of Twitter, you’re going to have something local that you’re going to use,” said Eng. Godfrey Mutabazi, the Executive Director of UCC.
Mutabazi argues that by Ugandans using a social media platform made locally, they will benefit from low internet connection charges.
“The moment you access the Internet, you first go to America and come back when you are surfing. But if we had our own content here, it will be cheaper.”
The Internet World Stats puts the number of internet users in Uganda at 13 million, out of a national population of about 41 million people. Mutabazi seems confident that the Ugandan social media platform will have at least 10 million users.
The move by the Ugandan government does beg the question, isn’t what they intend to do an act of reinventing the wheel? Is it not a better use of time and money to innovate and invent things that are not already in existence?
Then again, there is also the legitimate question of, is the Ugandan government trying to create a social network platform it can directly control? The government has on various occasion blocked users to access social media sites, especially during the electioneering season. Is the move to create a local social media a hand by the government to create a platform where it can better monitor and control the activities of the populations. Hopefully curb dissent early before it spreads out.