Police warns bloggers against pronouncing prominent persons dead

CID Spokesperson Charles Twine. Photo/File

Police has through its Criminal Investigations Department (CID) cautioned social media bloggers against pronouncing President Museveni and other prominent figures dead.

Speaking to the press at Central Police headquarters in Naguru yesterday, Charles Twine the spokesperson of CID said that police have arrested more suspects for spreading fake news on social media regarding the alleged death of President Museveni.

“After the arrest of Peter Ssekyondwa from Luwero last week, security has picked more suspects to help in investigations over the matter,” he said.

Adding: “We have been undertaking investigations and on Thursday, we arrested one of the suspects (Ssekyondwa) who had authored a message extending what had been authored by people outside our jurisdiction. He edited the message (from abroad) and started sharing it. The people who received it also started sharing it.”

Social media was awash with reports that President Museveni had allegedly passed on after being admitted to Aga Khan Hospital in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi.

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Twine said that the reports started by bloggers outside the country attracted the attention of many Ugandans especially those on social media.

“However, President Museveni, a day later, appeared at the opening of the virtual health summit,” he added.

Twine warned bloggers against sharing such information that is not verified saying it might lead to their arrest.

“In our culture, when you announce someone dead and you are not from their family or personal doctor or official spokesperson of the institution where he works, society condemns you as one who is indisciplined. To us law enforcement agencies, we take up the matter as a crime. When you share that information ignorantly, you may also be charged,” Twine said.

He noted that according to investigations done by police, some of the people behind the messages announcing prominent person’s deaths are scheming to get asylum in countries abroad.

“Some of these things are done as a scheme especially those outside the country to create grounds to get asylum but security will soon bust their plans. People like Lumbuye (Fred) take these things casually to spread fake news of the death of other persons but the different jurisdictions have been notified by police and diplomatic protocols that they should not be granted asylum on grounds that they are facing political persecution. If they are to do so, they should base on other reasons,” he added.

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Important to note is that President Museveni, last week, directed security agencies to go after social media users who spread the news of his death.

“The security service needs to also solve that problem. I need to check with them so that we quickly locate those who tell such a story because you waste people’s time. We should go for you. We should locate where you are and go for you. If you are in Europe, we denounce you and say go to hell,” he said.

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