An ongoing crackdown on NUP leaning bloggers is largely hinged on political grounds than the moral card as insinuated by NRM regime apologists. In today’s security briefing at Naguru police headquarters, CID boss Charles Twine vowed that police would liaise with the Interpol to have Lumbuye extradited from Turkey to Uganda to face off with charges of spreading ‘sectarian and false news’
Unlike in the past decades of his 36 year old reign, the era of Hon. Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert aka Bobi Wine as an opposition figure has sent shockwaves down the elderly spine of Mr. Museveni who has all along enjoyed a smooth ride of governing the uninformed millions of Ugandans. The Kyagulanyi era in opposition has seen Ugandans more engaged in hunting for online information on how their country is being governed. NUP leaning bloggers voluntarily share information that is censored in the mainstream media.
In the preceding years, social media was never a threat to the Museveni tyrannical regime as people would use it to flirt, gamble and mainly follow entertainment trends. The only social media figure standing in the Besigye era as opposition leader was the fictional ‘Tom Voltaire Okwalinga’ largely known as ‘TVO’ who always unleashed weekly series of episodes of the happenings inside the state house and first family circles. Despite being a lead author of these exclusive episodes, TVO did not command a mammoth following which eventually plunged him off the scene.
When Kyagulanyi made a political breakthrough on the Ugandan scene in 2017/18, the mainstream media was slapped with a directive to cease granting the popstar turned politician any airtime on their media platforms. As an innovative leader, Kyagulanyi empowered online and citizen journalism which eventually saw a new dawn reigning on the Ugandan political scene. Several online platforms like Ghetto TV, Ekyooto, Olujuliro, vloggers and bloggers emerged to counteract any misinformation and regime propaganda in the mainstream government leaning media houses like Bukedde which enjoyed a monopoly of having a free space without any competition.
Bloggers and online channels invested immensely in the trend of investigative journalism and started to unearth the unknown about the political dealings of the first family and career opposition leaders. In the long run, Ugandans whose eyes had been blindfolded by the regime media outlets started seeing the concealed truth. A recent example is the November 2020 protests where government media platforms refrained from reporting the bloodshed in Kampala and urban cities that went on rampage. It is the bloggers and citizen journalists who took up the mantle of sharing live proceedings.
Even though Tibuhaburwa has tried his best to bar citizens from accessing social media information by coming up with unfair taxes, the people have remained hesitant with beating all odds to get online. The Over the Charge Tax (OTT) was defeated with the Virtual Private Networking (VPN). A new 12% tax on internet is also evidently being defied as Ugandans remain determined to access information at all costs. With the courage of the people being overzealous, Museveni has now resorted to intimidation as a strategy to silence his critics on social media.