The Ugandan Ministry of foreign affairs has appealed to Ugandans on social media to desist from posting messages that may fuel the stand off in Kenya resulting from electoral disagreements.
In a statement now circulating on all platforms, Margaret Kafeero the acting Head of Public Diplomacy at the Miinistry of Foreign Affairs
Uganda has called upon Ugandans on Social media to
work towards encouraging members on various networks to be responsible and desist from indiscriminately circulating any messages concerning the security situation in Kenya without verification.
Kafeero has also appealed to Ugandans to stop posting messages that might incite or encourage violence in Kenya.
According to a Kenya’s Social Media Lens report released by Nendo, a research firm in Kenya, about half of Kenya’s population of 49 million has access to internet while 13 million have access to WhatsApp, Seven million Kenyans have access to Facebook, while just one million are active Twitter users. These numbers are among the highest in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Threat of ethnic violence
One of the main concerns of observers is whether social media will be used to incite violence now that the outcome is not turning out to be what many people expect.
“We have witnessed a lot of poorly camouflaged propaganda and a social media posts orchestrated to spread fear, anxiety, and deception and hate speech,” said Government Spokesman Eric Kiraithe.
Kaigwa added that the country has no legal data protection framework, leaving a lot of room for exploitation. False media reports led to ethnic violence and the deaths of over 1,200 people following elections in 2007. In the age of social media and fake news, the mere suggestion of bias or cheating could lead to violence again.
Uganda fears that influence from her side may fuel disagreements,hence the warning. Its not clear yet if Kenyan authorities will consider putting the country off social media as a precaution as it has been in some African countries that has had elections recently.