Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Uganda's Opposition Calls for MTN Boycott

Uganda's main opposition party has started a campaign calling upon its supporters to boycott the services of the country's largest mobile telecommunications company, MTN Uganda Ltd. blaming it for disrupting the opposition poll tally center during the February 18 presidential polls.

The opposition blames MTN Uganda, a unit of Johannesburg-listed MTN Group Ltd. of intentionally jamming the telephone lines that the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) had bought for its polling agents to transmit results to its tally center on February 18, according to Wafula Oguttu, the FDC spokesman.

"They sabotaged our tally center and we could not tally our own results," he said."MTN is involving itself in Ugandan politics."

Click here to find out more!According to Oguttu, the FDC has started a nationwide campaign, calling its supporters to discard MTN sim cards. The opposition also accuses the company of giving campaign funds and free airtime to the ruling National Resistance Movement party.

An MTN spokeswoman denied the opposition allegations and said the company is considering legal action after party leaders publicly destroyed and burned MTN sim cards at a press conference on Friday last week.

"We have never received a formal complaint about the alleged jamming of the lines from the FDC," she said.

MTN has at least 6.5 million cell phone subscribers in Uganda

Veteran opposition leader, Kizza Besigye had set up a parallel tally center to tally his own votes saying he had no faith in the ruling party-appointed electoral body, however, the center was sabotaged, before being invaded by security forces on February 18.

The FDC claimed to have only tallied results from around 30% of the polling stations, showing Besigye in the lead with at least 47% of the vote, compared with President Yoweri Museveni's 46% by the time the center was sabotaged.

The Electoral Commission later announced Museveni as the winner with 68% of the vote, but the polls were marred by a number of irregularities, according to observers.

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