Crackdown on social media crime starts

Monday June 22 2015

By ANDREW BAGALA

Kampala. Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura has established a cybercrime unit and appointed its head, days after President Museveni warned about misuse of cyberspace to incite hatred and tribalism.
Gen Kayihura appointed assistant superintendent of police Richard Ndaboine as head of the unit to work with the Forensic Referral Centre of Excellence to execute his work.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said the trends have changed and many people are committing crimes on the internet and they need to ensure they are stopped.
“There are many cybercrimes cases that people are reporting to us. Some people have lost millions of shillings while others are related to threats that could destabilise the country. We needed to act fast,” Mr Enanga said.
President Museveni has twice warned users of social media platforms to stop inciting hatred and tribalism.
His warnings followed an audio exchange on WhatsApp social media platform between people suspected to be of two ethnic communities from western Uganda each calling the other names.
Another case was about a letter purported to have been written by President Museveni to former Libya leader, Col Muammar Gaddafi in which sectarianism was highlighted. President Museveni said the letter is a forgery and ordered police to investigate.
The president also alleged that his former premier Amama Mbabazi’s name had been mentioned in the authorship of the said social media sectarian attacks.
Since President Museveni’s statements, police have been cracking down on people they suspect to be issuing offensive communication on social media.

Critic arrested, charged
A fortnight ago, police arrested and produced Mr Robert Shaka in court on allegations that he was using computers and other electronic devices to issue offensive communications against the sovereign State of Uganda, bringing it into hatred and contempt and accordingly, committing the offence of promotion of sectarianism contrary to Section 41 of the Penal Code Act. Prosecutions also allege that he used computers and other electronic devices to issue offensive communication against President Museveni, Ms Janet Museveni, Gen Kale Kayihura, the police chief, and others contrary to Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act.

abagala@ug.nationmedia.com

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