Opinion: Surveillance of the opposition is nothing new by Mzee
That the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni have used many methods to continue to surveillance the ones in opposition. Not only all the notifications to the Police Force, when the Opposition parties are planning gatherings, meetings and rallies. This clearly shows that the state wants to follow and monitor them.
This is not the only tricks, the state have done what it could to hack into the gadgets of opposition leaders.
Like Privacy International reports: “In late 2011, officials of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) and Uganda Police Force (UPF), acting on presidential orders, used an intrusion malware, short for malicious software, to infect the communications devices of key opposition leaders, media and establishment insiders. The secret operation was codenamed Fungua Macho (‘open your eyes’ in Swahili), according to documents acquired by Privacy International. The tool chosen as the ‘backbone’ of the operation, FinFisher, is intrusion malware that was at the time manufactured by the Gamma Group of companies, headquartered in the UK” (Privacy International, January 2019).
Clearly, the NRM has used this tactics before and could use it again. Through new forms and even other type of equipment. So, the idea that the NRM could use all sort of tactics of surveillance of the new People Power Movement and Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine. This has been written about in Wall Street Journal. However, the Chinese Embassy of Kampala has dismissed it.
Still, the Chinese company haven’t dismissed it, and secondly, the company has gotten into question for questionable usage of data in the past. Therefore, Huawei could have breach the privacy and done this to the rising star, Bobi Wine. They could do this on order combined with favourable deals with the Ugandan Government. None of which, sounds surprising, knowing the friendly relationship between the NRM and Beijing.
So, I am not shocked, as the NRM has even used other techniques in the past. Like putting in devices to monitor the movement of the car of Besigye. This they did during the campaigns of 2014/15. Therefore, that they could launch a new method to follow Bobi Wine wouldn’t be shocking.
We cannot be sure, but knowing how the NRM operate and uses all methods to breach the peace. They will initially find a way to monitor, surveillance and use their power to know everything. To take the data and connections, they will wire-tap or do whatever it take to gather intelligence on opposition leaders. That is what they do, if they have the opportunity.
They used Fungua Macho, they have used other since. To believe otherwise, would be naive and the usage of CMI, ISO, UPF and Office of the State House would be anticipated. Peace.