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Uganda gov’t denies spying on Bobi Wine, says has open democratic system

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The Ugandan government has denied allegations made in a report in the Wall Street Journal that it worked with technicians from the telecoms company Huawei to crack the encrypted communications of popular musician-turned-politician Robert Kyagulanyi also known as Bobi Wine.

There was no evidence in the report that Huawei executives in China were aware of what was happening in Africa.

Huawei described the allegations as “unfounded and inaccurate”.

Government spokesman Ofowno Opondo told BBC Focus on Africa TV that they were “false”.

“In Uganda we run a transparent democratic system. The opposition politicians speak their mind openly… there is no need to use underhand methods to find out what they are saying.”

When challenged that Uganda had been accused of spying on opponents in the past, Mr Opondo said, “There will always be bad apples in the system.”

In 2015, the BBC reported that the Ugandan government used surveillance technology which was deployed to crush and potentially blackmail opponents. The report was denied by the government at the time.

Bobi Wine has been representing Kyandondo East Constituency as MP for two years and portrays himself as a champion of the poor, and sings about social justice and democracy.

He intends to run against President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 presidential election, even though he does not subscribe to any political party, apart from heading his popular political pressure group, People Power.

Museveni has been in power since 1986, and is seeking a sixth term.

 

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