Electricity Distributor Umeme has finally commented on why their official Twitter account (www.twitter.com/umemeltd) was deactivated.
The account which has been one of the major platforms where the public engaged with the utility has been off for close to 24 hours now, although Umeme is yet to make a public communication about the same.
The deactivation comes after a huge backlash that came over the weekend following a wide power outage that was caused by heavy rain on Friday evening. The outage, according to reports on social media, spread across the major towns in the country.
When contacted on phone, Umeme publicist Stephen Ilongole said the deactivation wasn’t connected to the criticism from tweeps over the weekend or the widespread outage.
“As you know, there are scheduled updates that take place after a specific period of time. The account has been deactivated to allow us do that,” Ilongole told The Tower Post on Tuesday morning.
Asked about the details of the updates that were being made, Mr. Ilongole was hesitant to answer, asking to be excused.
“I have an urgent incoming call that I need to pick up. Let me call you back shortly,” he said before hanging up.
Unlike other traditional websites, back-end Twitter updates are only made by its engineers and developers in Twitter Incorporated.
The only updates that can be made by the end user like Umeme include but not limited to; changing a profile picture, cover picture, bio, some few details of the account including login details, handles, display names and a few front-end settings.
The Tower Post also understands that making any of the above named changes would not require an account to be deactivated.
It remains unclear which ‘updates’ the utility is making that would cause deactivation of an account which is arguably the most convenient way for the public to engage with the community.
Angry Ugandans have since the deactivation taken to social Media to criticize Umeme, saying they are cowardly and couldn’t handle the negative feedback from the public.
“You will reactivate your Twitter handle or else we will replace you with China or Cuba. Or we will just steal the damn electricity. How could you? Put it back. We have enough problems so do not confuse us,” a one Martha Leah wrote on her timeline.
“Hey my people, I am back to get your feedback about any power blackouts in your area. By the way stop asking me why I am asking you these issues. UMEME deactivated their twitter account and I am here to assist. Reply or Retweet with your affected area,” self-named Twitter Vice President Mathias Ssemanda tweeted.
As of now, Ugandans on Twitter can hardly alert Umeme about Power Outages or any problems affecting distribution in their areas.
This is not the first time Umeme is getting huge backlash on Social Media.
In March 2018, many Ugandans expressed support for President Yoweri Museveni’s directive to the Ministry of Energy to not renew Umeme’s contract over inflating its operational costs and hiking the cost of electricity.
During the time, social media became awash with complaints and insults against the utility from unsatisfied customers although the fire would later cool down.