Army condemns fake news that announced Gen Tumwine dead

Gen Elly Tumwine

Gen Elly Tumwine

The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has condemned a section of Ugandans on social media who 'falsely' declared Gen Elly Tumwine ‘dead’ and also went on to 'celebrate his 'demise'. Tumwine was announced dead on Sunday night days after he'd been flown to Aga Khan hosptial in Kenya.

“It is with untold grief that we announce the death of our patriotic soldier and friend to the nation, Gen Elly Tumwine who has passed on at 10 pm at Aga Khan Hospital, Nairobi where he was airlifted on Thursday. The UPDF shall communicate further arrangements”, the false Twitter post read.

UPDF spokesman Brig Kulayigye, in response on Monday, described the post as a ‘shame’, saying: “If modernity is equivalent to wizardly, then I would rather remain backward. In a society with norms, NO one wishes another dead!!! But some people are going to a great length declare the living, dead!”

Earlier, Tumwine’s daughter, Cynthia Tumwine, tweeted and dismissed the social media rants.

“Adversity will teach you so much about human nature. That said, I wouldn’t wish the last 24 hours on anyone. Time travel needs to undo social media because it’s currently in the pits. God is faithful regardless though. We give him praise," she tweeted.

Tumwine, 68, is a retired Ugandan military officer, an artist and educator. He is the former Security minister from 2019 to 2021. He also served as commander of the then National Resistance Army (NRA) from 1984 to 1987.

Write-ups about Tumwine's alleged demise started trickling in on social media on Friday following his evacuation to Nairobi earlier in the week. It is not the first time social media is falsely announcing Tumwine’s ‘demise’, and other high-profile government officials.

Other personalities who have recently been announced ‘dead’ on social media and yet were still alive include; the late speaker of parliament Jacob Oulanyah, state minister in charge of Karamoja Agnes Nandutu, and Eng Hillary Onek, the Lamwo County MP and minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and Refugees.

Several of such falsified news items is what has prompted Kampala Central MP, Muhammad Nsereko to introduce a law on cyber-harassment, which the speaker has currently referred to the committee on information communications technology for further scrutiny.

In the proposed bill, Nsereko prescribes stringent measures to address the gaps, the technological abuse with its grave impact on health, human relations and society at large such as Shs 15 million fine, lengthy jail terms or both, and a 10-year-ban from holding public office for convicted offenders.

© 2016 Observer Media Ltd