KAMPALA, UGANDA: President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has said the closure of access to Facebook will not affect the most important things from happening in Uganda.
The president made the remarks while speaking to a section of youth who were part of a group that campaigned for him and the NRM using social media platforms.
The youth under their respective groups, led by Duncan Abigaba, the Deputy Director of the Government Citizens Interaction Centre (GCIC), and Mathew Bagonza paid a courtesy visit to the president at State House Entebbe on Saturday.
Speaking as one of the victims of Facebook’s actions to delete accounts of government officials, individuals and organisations that were deemed pro-Museveni and the ruling NRM, Abigaba told the president that he was treated without fairness from the tech giants.
“Your excellency, many of us including myself are unable to access our Facebook accounts. It is not that I am devastated but the fact is that I take it as a badge of honour for fighting negative propaganda against this government,” Abigaba said.
Abigaba requested the president to look into the possibility of appointing someone to cater for digital diplomacy for the country.
“Some countries have already done this, we need someone who will handle diplomatic diplomacy on our behalf,” he said.
“Mr President, these youth were deleted off Facebook without hearing, they cannot get back their accounts, even when they try opening new ones, they are deleted immediately,” Mathew Bagonza told the President.
Responding to the group, President Museveni asked the youth whether anything substantial had changed in their lives since losing the accounts.
“Ever since Facebook went, have you heard of any shortage of sugar in town? Do you not have clothes? Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God,” Museveni said.
“Recently, I heard people come here for the first time, they were from USA. When they reached, they asked me, where is war? I answered which war? They told me that they had seen on Facebook that there is war in Uganda. Therefore, for such things, Facebook will fail.”
He castigated the tech giants for acting with bias to the NRM and its supporters.
“They deleted our people’s accounts under the guise, but we can see the bias and the discrimination standards they used. You cannot say that these were doing wrong but what about the other group that have been spreading all forms of wrong information and inciting our people?”
“This is the reason why in some countries they are not allowed. Do they operate in China? Anyway, what I heard is that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I never heard that Facebook fits in same category,” Museveni said.