Turkish-based Ugandan blogger, Fred Lumbuye, has been arrested over a raft of offences where he has allegedly been using social media to spread false news and cause acrimony.
Security sources confirmed his arrest and revealed that a team of operatives attached to Uganda’s External Security Organisation, working with the Turkish security, tracked and arrested Lumbuye from his hideout in Turkey.
“He has been tracked for some time, and he was finally arrested. Lumbuye had several players behind him. It is time for truth-telling and for him to reveal whoever was involved in feeding him with falsehoods to cause acrimony,” a security source revealed.
Following Lumbuye’s arrest, several Ugandans in the diaspora who support him turned to social media to claim that he had been kidnapped. However, on learning that Lumbuye had been arrested, they launched fundraising to get lawyers for him.
Lumbuye is among the alleged social media misusers that police recently singled out to be among those on its wanted list.
By the time of filing this, the foreign affairs state minister in charge of International Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem, said he was addressing a press conference. But Oryem had earlier said Lumbuye should be arrested for causing acrimony in Uganda through his social media posts.
Museveni directs on social media misusers
On July 8, President Yoweri Museveni directed security services to track down people who misuse social media by spreading false information.
The President said there was a need to crack down on the people who are misemploying social media, including the Ugandans living abroad. He noted that many of them are now using it to spread baseless and tasteless news with total abandon.
“Another idiotic problem that we need to solve is the social media. Social media apparently has been saying that Museveni is dead. So, the security service needs also to solve that problem. I need to check with them to locate quickly the one who tells such a story because you waste people’s time; they should go for you,” Museveni said
This followed a series of fake news being peddled via social media, including one where bloggers spread falsehoods that Museveni had died.
On July 5, the senior Presidential Press Secretary, Lindah Nabusayi, clarified misinformation that had been spread on social media that there had been a planned presidential address on COVID-19 that evening.
“Please disregard any rumours circulating that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni is set to address the nation today. There is no address. We shall inform the public as and when such an address is scheduled,” Nabusayi said.
The clarification followed speculative social media posts indicating that the President was due to address the nation on the COVID-19 situation and the 42-day lockdown he imposed on June 18.
Earlier in the day, Nabusayi tweeted pictures of the President, who was in the company of the First Lady and Education minister, Janet Kataaha Museveni, going for the Cabinet meeting at State House Entebbe, amid false reports that the President was sick and that he had died.