President Museveni has said the limitation of access to the social media platform Facebook will not stop the most important things from happening in Uganda.
The President was speaking to a section of youth who were part of a group that campaigned for him and the NRM party using social media platforms.
The youth under their respective groups, led by Mr Duncan Abigaba, the Deputy director of the Government Citizens Interaction Centre (GCIC) and Mr Mathew Bagonza paid courtesy visit to the President at State House Entebbe on Saturday.
Speaking as one of the victims of Facebook’s actions to delete accounts of government officials, individuals and companies that were deemed pro-Museveni and pro-NRM, Abigaba lamented that he was treated without fairness from the tech giants.
“Your Excellency, many of us including myself are unable to access our Facebook accounts, not that I am devastated, in fact I take it like a badge of honour for fighting negative propaganda against this government,” Abigaba said.
He requested President Museveni to look into the possibility of appointing someone to cater for digital diplomacy for the country.
“Some countries have already done this, we need someone who will handle digital diplomacy on our behalf,” he said.
On January 8, 2020, Facebook removed 32 pages, 220 user accounts, 59 groups, and 139 Instagram profiles it said were working to promote president Museveni.
According to a Facebook statement, they removed the assets “for violating our policy against government interference, which is coordinated inauthentic behavior on behalf of a government entity. This network originated in Uganda and targeted domestic audiences.”
President Museveni asked the youth if anything quite substantial has changed in their lives since losing the accounts.
“(Mr) Abigaba, ever since facebook went, have you heard of any shortage of sugar in town? Do you not have clothes? Facebook will talk but we shall move, they are not God. Recently, I heard people who came here for the first time…they were from USA. When they reached, they asked me, where is war? I answered which war? They told me that they had seen on Facebook that there is war in Uganda. Therefore, for such things, Facebook will fail,” he said.
He castigated the tech giants for acting with bias against the NRM and its people.
“They deleted our people’s accounts under the guise, but we can see the bias, the discrimination standards they used. You cannot say that these were doing wrong, what about the other group that have been spreading all forms of wrong information and inciting our people? This is the reason why in some countries they are not allowed, do they operate in China? Anyway, what I heard is that God is omnipresent, omnipotent and omniscient. I never heard that Facebook fits in same category,” President Museveni said.
In January, Facebook shut a slew of accounts belonging to Ugandan government officials and supporters claiming that they sort to manipulate public debate ahead of elections.