Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, has reiterated President Yoweri Museveni’s warning against Ugandans misusing social media, especially WhatsApp.
Rugunda who was inaugurating a new Hi-Tech Information Access Centre facility, valued at 300,000 USD on Thursday, cautioned against misuse of the Internet and social media platforms for malicious propaganda to undermine peace and security of the country.
At the close of last month, President Museveni ordered the arrest of WhatsApp users who were recorded spreading sectarian sentiments in Kabale district.
In a lengthy statement, Museveni said he received the video from his wife and First Lady, Janet Kataaha Museveni, telling him that some Ugandans had run mad.
“I asked why, and she gave me a phone, that contained three voices. One of these, a woman was speaking in Rukiga, while the two others, a man and a woman were speaking in Ankole and West Buganda social dialects.”
He said the fools were insulting and derogating groups of Ugandans, using these two different social dialects yet easily communicating to each other, without a translator.
“Sadly, those fools use the gift of communication to insult and downgrade Ugandans instead of construction,” Museveni wrote saying NRM condemns, holds in contempt and stamps out those fools and enemies who divide our people on religious and cultural lines.
“Let me hope that the fools, idiots, and enemies, who use modern technology to speak nonsense, are villagers. If there is someone encouraging them, I hope that God, and government officials will reveal them and they will reap what they sawed,” charged the President.
He said even those who listened to the disparaging messages on Whatsapp, and kept quite are also in the wrong.
“We shall trace their sources and those spreading them.”
In his message this week at the facility located at the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology on Parliamentary Avenue in Kampala, built with the technical assistance from the Government of Korea, Rugunda warned that legal action will be taken on any person involved in cybercrimes, as provided for in the Computer Misuse Act 2012.
The Centre which boasts of a fully equipped 30-seater specialized training center, a 25-seater Internet lounge and a 50-seater seminar room, will be used to facilitate e.government initiatives to the public and government officials with the objective to create an environment for youth to benefit from new technologies and raise IT literacy levels while promoting the use of ICT for development.
It will also provide a platform for students to develop ICT ideas that can promote business development, provide an incubation facility for ICT innovations and environment for students to interact globally with other students in research and knowledge exchange through forums and discussions across the globe.
The Minister for ICT John Nasasira said, ICT has been a fast growing sector which has greatly contributed to the tax revenue collections in the country.
Nasasira said Hi-Tech IAC centers have been established in 35 countries through the assistance of the Government of Korea.
Nasasira said NITA-U should publicize and devise means of sustaining the IAC facility.
The Korean Ambassador to Uganda His Excellence Park Jongdae said, the opening of the IAC facility was significant in the partnership between Uganda and Korea.