The Ugandan government has accused Facebook of interfering in the upcoming elections after the social media giants removed a slew of accounts belonging to government officials.
“This month, we removed a network of accounts and pages in Uganda that engaged in CIB (Coordinated Inauthentic Behaviour) to target public debate ahead of the election,” Facebook’s head of communication for sub-Saharan Africa, Kezia Anim-Addo, said in an email to AFP.
Anim-Addo alleged that the network was associated with the government ministry of information and communications technology.
“They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in groups to make them appear more popular that they were.”
The mass-deletion was condemned by President Yoweri Museveni’s senior press secretary Don Wanyama, who was among the many officials to have their accounts shut down.
“Shame on the foreign forces that think they can aid and plant a puppet leadership on Uganda by disabling online accounts of (ruling party) NRM supporters,” he said on Twitter. “You wont take away President Kaguta Museveni,” he added.
All eyes have been on Uganda and its upcoming election as popstar-turned-politician Bobi Wine is poised to be the biggest threat to Museveni’s rules since he became president in 1986.
Since becoming the leading opposition party leader, Wine, real name Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu, has faced repeated harassment at the government’s hands and has been arrested several times over the past year.
“People are not just following me. People are following an ideal that I represent,” he said during an interview with the BBC in 2019. “I did not start it and I will not end it. I’m just one of the millions and millions of Ugandans that want better.”