To understand the current affairs, you need to know that the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) is a branch under the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), which could be called the National Army. The CMI is the intelligence branch of the UPDF. Now that you know these facts and has that under wraps.
Let us read this story from earlier today: “The Directorate of CID and CMI, have charged to court a blogger known as Kasagga Bashir aka Kasagga Matovu, with 4 counts of Unauthorised Modification of computer material, under the Computer Misuse Act. The facts gathered indicate that during the month of August and September, 2022, while in the Kampala, the suspect, with requisite intent and knowledge, used his social engineering techniques to create, obtain and modify tweets and screenshots of twitter handles of the Defence Spokesperson @UPDFspokesperson, Uganda Police Force @PoliceUg, Annita Annet Among @Anita Among and Balaam Barugahare Ateenyi @Balaam 1980” (…) “The suspect has been the leader of the network of social media abusers. His communication matrix is linked to thousands of group members. It also clearly shows selected individuals and political groups, that have been glorifying and sponsoring his offensive behaviour, towards government officials and institutions. We have retrieved some of the deceptive posts, charts, accounts and pictorials, which he has been sharing with 6,588 followers on Twitter and 5,625 Facebook followers” (…) “The suspect has been charged with 4 counts of unauthorised modification of computer materials C/S 14 (1) and (6) of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011” (Uganda Police Force – ‘BLOGGER CHARGED WITH 4 COUNTS OF UNAUTHORISED MODIFICATION OF TWITTER ACCOUNTS’ 19.09.2022).
The Law itself:
“14. Unauthorised modification of computer material
A person who—
(a) does any act which causes an unauthorised modification of the contents of any computer; and
(b) has the requisite intent and the requisite knowledge at the time when he or she does the act,
commits an offence” (Computer Misuse Act, 2011).
This Statute or Article of the Law is punishable up to 15 years in prison. That’s if the Courts or the authorities finds it fitting to give him the full extent of punishment for his actions. They are using the Computer Misuse Act of 2011, which has been used against dissident in the past. It has been a favourable tool. Even more so than certain parts of the Penal Code to pin crimes on the ones speaking ill or with malice against the state.
Now, we are seeing the army is involved in the prosecution. That isn’t new in the Republic. It is a staple around Election and in the Post-Election. The CMI have been used and directed to apprehend, kidnap and keep civilians incommunicado. That has been done by several of authorities and by other law enforcement as well.
So, with that in mind, it isn’t weird that the CMI is involved in making a case against a blogger. The CMI has also been used and have training for cyber crimes. That means the CMI is going into civilian matters Just like when the Court Martial is used as a tool to oppress civilians. When the civilians are neither soldiers, serving in the army or affiliated with the UPDF in any shape or form. Therefore, these sorts of practices isn’t new, but showing how the state operates at this point.
Now, that the Computer Misuse Act is used again. Expect it to be more relevant in the time ahead, as it has been amended and is more broad to capture even more people in the net. That’s why this year will be filled with cases like these and no one should be surprised by it. This is what the authorities has ordered. Peace.