Egypt, Tunisia ban in Uganda

Source: Norman S. Miwambo

In a move to curtail the freedom of speech, the government has issued a directive to all mobile phone companies operating in Uganda to intercept key words like 'Egypt', 'People Power', and 'Bullet' from all their short message services or SMS, Reuters News Agency has reported.

An internal email from the state-run Uganda Communications Commission (UCC) with the order has also been leaked to the opposition coalition Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) on Thursday.

According to Reuters, the head of UCC, Patrick Mwesigwa, confirmed this is genuine. “…We had a meeting with content providers on Tuesday and we decided that a list of key words should not be transmitted,” he said. A source who preferred not be named to speak freely said, the state had got intelligence information that, those words are to be used to mobilse the protesters.

He added that, “…Messages containing such words, when encountered by the network or facility owner or operator, should be scrutinised and, if deemed to be controversial or advanced to incite the public, should be stopped or blocked,” Mwesigwa confirmed.

The other banned English words or phrases are: “Tunisia”, “Mubarak”, “dictator”, “teargas”, “army”, “police”, “gun”, “Ben Ali” and “UPDF”. Several words from Uganda's local languages are listed too.

At his final election rally on Wednesday, Dr. Kizza Besigye warned that his supporters will take to the streets if the IPC concludes that the election have been rigged by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

“…In the last two elections we were cheated and all the Supreme Court judges agreed with us but still failed do their duty (and) annul the election. We're not going to the courts again. If our results don't tally with those of the electoral commission, I will ask the people themselves to deal with the situation directly,” Besigye said.

President Museveni has however threatened to arrest to Dr. Besigye if he asks his supporters to take to the streets to protest election theft.

The situation in Uganda is not rosy according to sources confirmed that trouble now brew around the country and in most parts the opposition supporters alongside their candidates clash with their opponents and state sponsored security operatives.

In the Eastern part of the country, supporters of incumbent MP Nandala Mafabi have been involved in the running battles with UPDF soldiers in Buwalasi and Bumuddu areas in Budadiri West Mbale region. Soldiers in Mambas (armoured vehicles) have taken over security in Sironko District. According to reliable source the raged crowd acting in an Egyptian style, they have managed to disarmed a UPDF soldier whilst other soldiers had to show their backs to the determined youthful group in order to spare their lives.

Reports in Mbale that the Chairman of the Parliamentary Publics Accounts Committee PAC and FDC MP Nandala Mafabi strong man who has been Museveni s enemy number one in the region sustained an injury, but we haven't established the cause.

There is also report that a Ugandan journalist, Julius Odeke, has been in the leg by bodyguards of the Minister for the Presidency Beatrice Wabudeya. He is in hospital in critical condition.

Sironko District Police Commander flees
A district police commander, in Sironko, Gerald Mbasa had to flee from the raged voters who were denied their Universal Human Rights to vote. The demanded to know why the police serve only supporters of the ruling party and for what reason it continues to harass the population aat Bugusege polling station.

Presidential candidates not on the register
President Museveni`s main challenger, Dr. Kizza found that his name was not on the voters` register. Dr Besigye meant to be a fully registered voter at Katenga Cell Municipal Stadium Polling Station. Instead he was advised to go to Rwakabengo Health Centre III Polling Station where he found his name and finally voted.

Samuel Walter Lubega, and Dr Abed Bwanika both independent presidential candidates, found that their names were missing on their respective voters` registers.

Lubega meant to be voting at Rainbow II Polling Station in Kawempe, a Kampala suburb has been only allowed to vote by Electoral Commission officials at the polling station. When contacted, Lubega said that, “We will not accept the outcome of the election because there has been many things going around.”

“I have seen and witnessed very good example not rumours, but my own eyes,” said Lubega.

Dr. Bwanika, also a presidential candidate, was turned away from his Butikirwa Polling Station and advised to go and vote in Bukoto II Parish in Nkurabiro Trading Centre.

“This is like many genuine voters were deliberately left out. It can`t be an accident,” said Dr Bwanika. He attributed the mess to the late changes that were brought without notice by the Electoral Commission.

Police aide NRM bribery
Strange but real, the police force that meant to keep law and order has been engaged in alleged bribery. FDC supporters in an eastern town of Iganga, approximately 78 miles east of Kampala carried out citizen arrest.

Eight special police constables were earlier arrested and detained by FDC supporters for allegedly helping the ruling party NRM to bribe the voters.

Independently, this reporter has established that, at Walugogo Estate in Iganga Municipal Council, police officers were offering sachets of salt, sugar and bars of soap and persuading them to vote for the incumbent.

“As you have heard, it is real. Here people are being given a bar of soap, a kilo of salt and sugar, in return to vote for the incumbent,” a journalist on condition of anonymity told this reporter, he added, “we are a very crazy situation, because all state operatives are trailing us. Please, all these phone conversation are being monitored.”

In what appears to be a coordinated move from above, Iganga District Police Commander Mr. David Manzi, told this reporter, “We are investigating the incident, but I have been informed that, the opposition supporters wanted to make the case and put those items on the police vehicle.”

It could be strange in a country like Uganda, if civilians can arrest police officers and plant the evident as Mr. Manzi tried to insinuate.

Wife bribes voters on behalf of husband
A wife to NRM candidate has been arrested by police in Kumi District on allegations of bribing voters to vote for her husband.

A wife to an NRM candidate for Kumi County Mr. Julius Omute, has been found in possession of 14 cartons of salt, 6 boxes of laundry soap, 6 dozens of waragi –local gin = that she has been using to lure voters.