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Ugandans Launch Hashtag Campaign Against Telecom Giant

An MTN vehicle in Uganda, November 28, 2005, CC 2.0

An MTN vehicle in Uganda, November 28, 2005, CC 2.0

Eight million people use MTN Uganda, making it the country's undisputed mobile telecom giant. According to Chimpreports.com, customers have grumbled for years about unreasonable extra charges and unexplained reductions in service. For a long time, these complaints fell on deaf ears.

Earlier this month, however, Ugandans decided to pool their influence and launch a hashtag campaign against MTN.

A screenshot of  MTN customer's phone Belinda Kyomuhendo saying the service request was unsuccessful. Image used with permission.

A screenshot of MTN customer's phone Belinda Kyomuhendo saying the service request was unsuccessful. Image used with permission.

Justus Amanya, a local journalist, told reporters:

This week starting tomorrow 17th Nov 2014, we are going to officially hand in our dissatisfaction note and complaint to the Minister of ICT Hon George William Nyombi Thembo at his office on Parliament Avenue,” announced Justus Amanya who is leading efforts to pressure government to crack down on MTN’s “undemocratic and 24/7 robbery.

A staff blogger at Willappsug, a technology blog, summarised MTN customers’ anger as follows:

It is believed that Uganda is falling victim to multinational corporations who are now controlling politicians, media, government officials and pattern of consumption thus the misconduct of such big brands.

Ugandans who have always complained about the country’s leading Telecom Company, MTN Uganda, of charging their humble customers abnormal rates and unjustifiably deducting their airtime and internet bundles through Justus Amanya who is leading the protests for the government to crack down on MTN’s undemocratic exploitation have come out to say “This week, we are going to officially hand in our dissatisfaction note and complaint to the Minister of ICT Hon George William Nyombi Thembo at his office on Parliament Avenue.”

On Twitter, one Kampala resident asked:

Qwenga, a blogger and public relations professional, noted the horrible publicity this campaign makes for MTN:

Samson Tumusiime, a social media manager and co-founder of Veritas Interactive, had no kind words for the telecom:

Bob Muheebwa, meanwhile, simply wanted his money back:

Others online turned there minds to larger questions. Mwine Edgar, a political commentator, floated a conspiracy theory, for instance:

The ranting from dissatisfied customers goes on:

There were some voices of support for MTN, however. Akampa Aaron, one apparently satisfied customer, had some kind, albeit brief, words for the corporation:

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