"Eritrea’s autocratic regime, which managed to silence all voices thanks to ban of independent media and closing access to the country, is also facing similar challenges through social media."

“Like Bashir of Sudan, many aging African dictators are facing a new wave of dissent enabled through social media. For years the plights of citizens haven’t been heard because of frail independent local media and lack of access to international humanitarian organizations. Now, thanks to modern technological tools and innovations, citizens are able to communicate horizontally and tell their own stories. The information monopoly has been challenged; ordinary citizens can now organize and confront their autocratic regimes from below.

“African autocrats who have cemented their rule by isolating their citizens are growing wary of the emerging scene. During elections or early signs of possible challenges across the continent, it has become an established practice for oppressive governments to ban internet or target most popular social media sites. This has happened, among others, in the Gambia, Zimbabwe, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and Gabon. That is also why various rights organizations have called on the Nigerian government to keep the internet open during upcoming elections.

“Social media and their dissident users are becoming the prime targets and existential enemies of many autocratic African leaders. For close to a year now, one of the region’s most impoverished countries, Chad, has banned social media to silence protest against a constitutional change that would allow President Idris Déby (since 1990) to stay in power until 2033,” writes Abraham T. Zere

Click here to access the article from Toward Freedom.