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Missing Lumbuye and Uganda’s social media woes

Lumbuye’s dominated the online space, until he went missing

Whereabouts unknown

The whereabouts of Lumbuye are still unknown although Nkunyingi says he has reason to believe the notorious vlogger is in Turkey contrary to reports that he was deported to Uganda and is in custody of Ugandan authorities.

Nkunyingi says he has had meetings with Ugandan foreign ministers; Jeje Odongo and Okello Oryem who have told him Lumbuye is still in Turkey. He says he has also met with the Turkish Ambassador to Uganda, Kerem Alp, and the embassy security attaché.

“The ambassador assured me that Lumbuye is in Turkey and is alive and well,” he says.

Nkunyingi says the Turkish ambassador told him Lumbuye was with the Turkish immigration authorities after his immigration status reportedly expired.

However it is this revelation that has raised eyebrows; queries emerging on Lumbuye’s immigration status at the time he is high on the radar of the Ugandan government.

According to Zaake, a Turkey-based lawyer was processing asylum for Lumbuye to be relocated to a different country not far away from Turkey. Zaake’s revelation kicked off a campaign by NUP supporters in the diaspora led by Herman Ainebyoona, who is based in the U.S., to raise $71,000(Shs249 million) for the lawyer’s fees.

Gen. Jeje Odong, the minister of foreign affairs, while appearing before the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs recently said the matter of Lumbuye was being discussed between the governments of Turkey and Uganda and Interpol.

Since Uganda and Turkey do not have an extradition treaty, there was apprehension from lawyers and human rights activists over his possible arrest and deportation saying it was a violation of international law.

Social media woes

Lumbuye’s case is similar to that of many others like Nicholas Opiyo, a human rights lawyer with connections to the diaspora, whose NGO, Chapter Four, was suspended indefinitely by the government in August.

The government has also arrested other opponents, like Stella Nyanzi, that allegedly use social media to criticize the government and President Museveni. Stella Nyanzi faced a slew of charges and spent time in jail for attacking Museveni and his family on social media.

In addition, the government has maintained a ban on Facebook in the country in a move seen to be aimed at silencing critical voices. The government shut down Facebook on the eve of the Jan.14 presidential election in retaliation for a move by the social media giant shutting government-linked accounts.

On its part, Facebook in a statement to Quartz, said it took the action because government-affiliated accounts were manipulating public debate ahead of the election in what it termed “coordinated inauthentic behavior.”

At the time Facebook said: “This month, we removed a network of accounts and Pages in Uganda that engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior (CIB) to target public debate ahead of the election.”

It continued: “They used fake and duplicate accounts to manage Pages, comment on other people’s content, impersonate users, re-share posts in Groups to make them appear more popular that they were.”

Museveni hit back a day to the election.

“We cannot tolerate this arrogance of anybody coming to decide for us who is good and who is bad,” he said.

He recently doubled down on the Facebook suspension saying Uganda had not stopped growing because of the suspension of the social media site.

In the social media war between government and the opposition, the Government Citizen Interaction Centre (GCIC) was cited as the operations centre for the creation of bot accounts that were reported to be manipulating debate ahead of the polls. At the time, GCIC was under the Ministry of Information and Communications Technology. It is now under State House.

Previously, the Ugandan government has not targeted its critics or opponents based outside the country. A number of bloggers, social media critics, and political opponents have established bases outside Uganda and appeared to enjoy freedom to do as they wish even in countries under equally authoritarian regimes like Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Turkey. The controversy over Lumbuye’s silence online and his whereabouts is a pointer that could be changing. That has some critical actors worried.



  1. That Terrorist was inciting Genocide among other unsavory comments… Let it marinade in its crap.

  2. That Terrorist was busy inciting Genocide among other unsavory and nihilistic comments… Let it marinade in its own crap

    • When you plant the seeds of descripance, leadrs cant just look on, planting hate and divition
      Destroys and sends the whole nation in a state of anarchy
      Let the law prevail.

      Mobes dont lead a nation.
      Long live uganda a free land…..

  3. MPs on tax payers money going all the way to Turkey to look for some piece of garbage yet they could have led by example to look for victims of the recent elections violence and ensure they have justice. Charity begins at home. Only shows how shortsighted they are and how they use the few resources available to prioritize the well-being of one misplaced individual who has made his own choices. The elections victims sadly never had a choice or didnt make a choice to die. Those should be the priorities.

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