Gen. Elly Tumwiine, the Uganda Minister for Defense, gave his two-cent thought on the #FreeBobiWine that was trending all over social media across the better part of East Africa and even beyond. That was when the authorities in Uganda arrested and detained lawmaker Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
Gen. Tumwiine had a bone particularly to pick with Kenyans on Twitter (#KoT), who according to him, was a case of visitors ‘crying more than the bereaved.’ The 64-year-old who always wears sunglasses in public was being interviewed by the NBS television when he said:
“By the way, young people (Ugandans), most of these messages you have received on WhatsApp, we have analyzed them, and most of them are from abroad and sent by people who are comfortable wherever they are,” said Gen. Tumwiine.
“A good number of them (messages) are from neighboring bad people from Kenya who are demonstrating when they have enough problems there.”
In essences, the General was telling Kenyans to focus on handling their internal affairs first, before turning to help their neighbors. However, to be fair, the voices of #KoT could only be louder than their neighbors’ voice given in Uganda one has to pay taxes to access social media.
Uganda’s move to impose a daily tax on social media has been criticized from the on-set as a maneuver by the government of the day to curb dissent, stop freedom of speech, and muzzle the voice of the citizens.
NGOs and other Foreign Governments also taken to task
So apparently, Uganda has foreign enemies who are funding the youths and opposition politicians to destabilize the country. That is according to the General, which could be interpreted as a view shared by the general government in Uganda.
“These enemies include NGOs who want to destabilize Uganda, they target opposition, young people, intellectuals, and the media, and they pay you. We have evidence that they pay the media to present Uganda’s bad image for whoever’s interest, not Uganda’s interest,” continued the General.
Kenyans on Twitter who supported #FreeBobiWine campaign
Kenya’s famous activist Boniface Mwangi and others took the demonstration on #FreeBobiWine beyond the keyboard and into the streets. They staged a demonstration on the roads leading to the Ugandan Embassy in Nairobi and even filed a petition.
The level of social media campaign protesting the arrest of Bobi Wine was higher in Kenya than Uganda, since for Ugandans to go to social media, they have to pay taxes.