Uganda Police Force (UPF) rushed to dispel social media reports of the arrest of National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine to prevent a repeat of protests.
Bobi Wine spent the December 11 night in his car on a roadside in Kitgum district.
He had been blocked for hours near Ngeta Swamp along Lira-Kitgum Road.
Some of his supporters on social media started spreading reports that he had been arrested.
But at about 3pm, about the same time police untethered Bobi Wine’s car that they had towed for hours, police refuted claims that it had arrested the singer-turned-politician.
“Please disregard information circulating on various social media platforms, claiming that Hon. Kyagulanyi has been arrested. It is FAKE and misleading information,” police said early December 12 morning.
“The NUP candidate has instead been escorted from Lira where he had no campaign schedule, to Kitgum enroute to Lamwo District, where he is scheduled for Campaigns.”
The Force noted that “such fake content can cause panic and harm public discourse through violent demonstrations.”
On November 18 and 19, protests broke out after the arrest of Bobi Wine in Luuka District, as well as that of main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential flag bearer Patrick Oboi Amuriat (POA), in the northern Uganda city of Gulu.
Police records indicate that 54 people, 32 of them protesters, were killed as security agencies tried to quell the riots.
UPF appealed to reporters to media houses to desist from publication of unverified information.
“We urge all media houses and all social media platforms to exhibit more diligence by thoroughly cross checking the credibility of their information,” a statement from police read in part.