Microblogging site Twitter has condemned internet restrictions in Tanzania as the country elects leaders in today’s General Election.
Many Tanzananias and lobby groups yesterday reported problems using Twitter and other social media platforms further accusing the John Pombe Magufuli-led government of suppression of freedom of speech.
Some of the individuals who managed to use Twitter said they were using Virtual Private Network (VPN) which was a struggle too.
Twitter issued a statement later on Tuesday evening confirming that access to its platform was indeed blocked.
The US-based tech company termed the move as a violation of basic human rights.
“Ahead of tomorrow’s election in #Tanzania, we’re seeing some blocking and throttling of Twitter. #TanzaniaDecides2020. Internet shutdowns are hugely harmful, and violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet #KeepItOn, ” the tweet reads.
— Twitter Public Policy (@Policy) October 27, 2020
The Magufuli government over the weekend also suspended bulk messaging and bulk voice calling services.
While announcing the suspension over the weekend, the Tanzania Communication Regulatory Authority (TCRA) said that bulk SMSs might have a negative impact on the forthcoming general elections and had therefore suspended the services between October 24th and November 11th 2020.
Only utility bulk messaging such as e-government and financial services were exempted.
Magufuli will be facing off with opposition leader Tundu Lissu who has accused the head of state of frustrating his supporters leading to the killing of a number of people with many others injured by the police.
Other presidential candidates include former Foreign Minister Bernard Membe and economist-turned-politician Ibrahim Lipumba.