KAMPALA — A congratulatory message by President Uhuru Kenyatta to his Ugandan counterpart Yoweri Museveni posted on State House Kenya’s Facebook page was on Sunday flagged down for allegedly containing false information.
The message came a day after Museveni was controversially declared the winner of the presidential poll, reportedly garnering 5.8%votes against his main opposition candidate Bobi Wine’s 35%
President Kenyatta, in his message, termed President Yoweri Museveni’s re-election as a testimony of the confidence the people of Uganda have in his leadership.
He further said he “looks forward to continue working with President Museveni in deepening the strong bilateral ties between Kenya and Uganda for the mutual benefit of the people of the two Republics.”
The message posted by State House read; “President Kenyatta said Uganda had achieved stability and registered consistent economic growth under President Museveni, and assured of Kenya’s commitment to continue partnering with Uganda in advancing regional and continental integration agenda through the East African Community, the African Union and other multilateral platforms.”
Facebook, however, flagged the message saying “the same information was checked in another post by independent fact checkers” hence deeming it false.
Museveni’s main challenger, musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine had accused him of fabricating the results and called the poll “the most fraudulent election in the history of Uganda”.
Bobi Wine urged citizens to reject the results.
He also said his home in the capital, Kampala, was surrounded by hundreds of soldiers and that the military was not allowing him to leave.
The army’s deputy spokesman, Deo Akiiki, told Reuters that security officers at Wine’s house were assessing threats he could face by going out: “So they might be preventing him in the interest of his own safety.”
Museveni, 76 and in power for 35 years, campaigned for another term arguing his long experience in office makes him a good leader and promising to keep delivering stability and progress.
Wine, 38, galvanised young Ugandans with his calls for political change and pledged to end what he calls dictatorship and widespread corruption.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, said on Friday he had video proof of voting fraud, and would share the videos as soon as internet connections were restored. The government ordered the internet shut down the day before the election, and the blackout was still in place.
Both the U.S. and Britain expressed concern over the validity of the election results, noting the internet blackout throughout Uganda since before the election day.
Wine said Sunday that his polling agents have video evidence of voting fraud, but cannot make them public because of the internet blackout, the Associated Press reported.
“We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications,” U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus tweeted Saturday.
We applaud Ugandans who exercised their right to vote in the January 14 elections, yet remain concerned by reports of election irregularities and politically motivated arrests. We urge authorities to address such irregularities and restore communications. https://t.co/HI0qd8A9q3
— Morgan Ortagus (@statedeptspox) January 16, 2021
On Sunday, Jake Sullivan, whom U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has chosen to be his national security adviser, tweeted:
“The news from Uganda is deeply concerning. Bobi Wine, other political figures, and their supporters should not be harmed, and those who perpetrate political violence must be held accountable. After this flawed election, the world is watching.”
Bobi Wine’s party also said Sunday that the opposition candidate and his wife are unable to leave their home, with soldiers surrounding the entrance and barring his colleagues and journalists from entering.