The Ugandan state seems determined to crack down on Ugandan social media users who have made it a habit to celebrate the death of senior government and military officers, the latest being former security minister Gen Elly Tumwine.
The Computer Misuse Act of 2011 is coming in handy as the state moves to send a strong message to social media users seeking to express their disdain of the regime by celebrating the deaths of government officials.
When Gen Tumwine passed on towards the end of last month, some people took to social media to express their thoughts about the general from Kazo.
Some celebrated in social media posts while others went as far as fabricating tweets to express their views through fake posts.
It is for both reason that Bashir Kasagga, a supporter of Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine’s National Unity Platform (NUP) has landed in trouble with the state security and prosecution.
Kasagga, a fitness trainer, was arraigned before Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Marion Mangeni on Friday, September 16.
The Bobi Wine ‘boy’ was charged with five counts of unauthorized modification of computer material contrary to the Computer Misuse Act of 2011.
Prosecution alleges that Kasagga fabricated screenshots of social media posts issued by government officials to make it appear like they were celebrating Gen Tumwine’s demise. T
State further prosecutors told court that between the months of August and September 2022, Kasagga obtained screenshots of the Twitter handle of the Ministry of Defence Spokesperson, @UPDFspokesperson, and modified contents of the posts thereon to make it appear that the national army had blocked NUP supporters from attending Gen Tumwine’s funeral in Kazo District.
The fabricated post that prosecution presented in court, read: “UPDF appeals to the General Public to be calm as we serve food at the send-off of our gallant statesman General Elly Tumwine. We however warn NUP supporters not to dare attend our burial in Kazo. You mocked and hurt the family of our deceased comrade so doesn’t risk to attend.”
Kasagga is also accused of fabricating screenshots to make it appear like police had threatened to throw Ugandans celebrating Gen Tumwine’s death in safe houses.
The fabricated post by Kasagga reportedly read: “We want to sound a warning to the general public that we shall come for you and apply iron fist on you if you can’t learn some morals, our safe houses shall teach you. In light of instilling morals in this rotten generation that has made it a hobby to jubilate when government official die, we have arrested Tracy Manule, a NUP supporter, to serve as an example to the rest. The suspect posted the video celebrating the death of Gen Elly Tumwine.”
Furthermore, Kasagga was accused of modifying posts to make it appear like Speaker of Parliament Anita Annet Among was happy with the demise of Gen Tumwine.
The fabricated post that Kasagga reportedly engineered read: “It is with great happiness that I have received news of the death of Gen Elly Tumwine. I even told the Pope that this deceased man tortured and killed Ugandans. When I was still in the Forum for Democratic Change, General Tumwine abducted Besigye supporters. It is good that he has died.”
The state also accused Kasagga of modifying posts on the Twitter handle of events promoter Balaam Barugahara Ateenyi (@Balaam1980) .
The state prosecutors argued that Kasagga falsified these people’s posts without their authorization.
Kasagga pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Mangeni remanded him to Luzira Prison until October 03.
Also currently in prison for celebrating Gen Elly Tumwine’s death is another pro-Bobi Wine TikToker, who reportedly told court that she recorded a video celebrating the general’s death while she was drunk. (Read Story Here).
Meanwhile, a senior Ugandan television journalist has also been kidnapped and his whereabouts remain unknown. (Read Story Here).