Special Reports

Inside Story: Museveni Twitter Hacking Arrest

FDC’s Amuru Woman MP By-election candidate, cialis 40mg http://datedgear.com/wp-content/plugins/woocommerce/includes/class-wc-shipping-zone.php Lucy Akello, hospital has expressed confidence that sweeping the polls won’t be a hard task.

Ms Akello was picked last Tuesday by party leaders of FDC, UPC, JEEMA, CP and DP to carry the joint opposition flag, as is their latest election strategy.

Officials say Akello was chosen unanimously and without much contestation in Gulu and will be tussling it out with Independent Paulin Achan and an NRM candidate who is yet to be selected.

The Amuru District Woman Member of Parliament seat fell vacant following the resignation of Hon. Betty Bigombe after she landed a job as Senior Director at the World Bank

Speaking to scribes at FDC headquarters on Monday, Akello said there existed many loopholes to be exploited in the NRM camp.

She pointed out that while she was set to hit the ground for campaigns, the NRM was still fighting to pick a flag bearer.

“Their primaries were supposed be held before ours, but they keep postponing and we hear they will come on 31st,” she said.

“We all know that the nominations are on November 3 and 4. Several candidates came forward and apparently only two have been nominated for the primaries.”

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Akello, who holds a Masters Degree in Development Studies, said the NRM internal differences were likely to affect their performance in the November 20 poll.

She added that the Amuru poll would be much easier than the Luweero one, where the opposition joint candidate Brenda Nabukenya emerged triumphant.
On Sunday, find http://cgt06.fr/wp-includes/bookmark.php October 25, http://cheesejaguar.com/wp-includes/class-wp-meta-query.php the president’s Special Communication’s Assistant, Sarah Kagingo telephoned Owino Solutions Ltd and Kawowo Sports Media boss, Joseph Owino seeking clarification on how her rivals at State House managed to take over control of President Museveni’s Twitter handle.

Owino said he was “watching football at the moment so I can’t help now.”

It should be remembered that upon being appointed to the media desk in the president’s office after losing the MP race for the East Africa Legislative Assembly in 2012, Kagingo reached out to several media personalities to assist her grow  Museveni’s presence on what is known as ‘new media’.

This included Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

While Kagingo’s intentions were innocent, it appears she never carried out due diligence on the choice of people she worked closely with.

Nevertheless, she managed to open Museveni’s Facebook account which has since pulled 155,626 likes (followers) and Twitter – 659,000 followers.

Most Ugandan daily newspapers sell around 20,000 copies each per day, implying Museveni’s message shared on Facebook and Twitter will be read by almost the same number of customers of three dailies.

Kagingo moved on well, earning the trust and confidence of President Museveni.

However, a row erupted in State House with Kagingo clashing with Deputy Presidential spokesperson Lindah Nabusayi and Brig Proscovia Nalweyiso.

It appears Kagingo wanted to be the only person to post messages on Museveni’s private social media accounts. Yet, the likes of Nabusayi also expressed interest in social media.

Others thought Kagingo’s was mistaking the President’s ‘confidence’ for ‘power’.

The clashes gave birth to cliques, back-stabbing and intrigue in State House. At one time, Museveni called the warring parties to Rwakitura.

Museveni was quoted as quizzing Kagingo’s rivals; “The benefits of this social media of Facebook was known to you before. Why didn’t you exploit it before we brought in this girl (Kagingo) from Kapeeka?”

He ordered that Kagingo runs social media while Nabusayi and the rest deal with print and electronic media. Kagingo was told to surrender passwords of the president’s website. She obliged.

Wrangles deepen

This did not save the situation. The wrangling continued.

Many aides complained to Museveni that Kagingo was not a “good team player” and that she was “undermining” their work.

They claimed that she was leaking negative stories about them in the media and bad-mouthing them in corridors of State House.

Following a series of meetings, it was decided that Kagingo be relieved of her duties and posted under Presidency Minister Frank Tumwebaze’s office to do research.

This was not easy as Kagingo was perceived as Gen Salim Saleh’s blue-eyed girl.

In 1997, Kagingo became only the second female Guild President (after Norah Njuba) at Makerere University.

She was only 14 and at Trinity College Nabbingo when she was inspired into leadership by the late Brig. Noble Mayombo and had served in several high profile and sensitive positions in security.

Before joining the president’s media desk, Kagingo was serving as research and development manager for an agricultural association, Akiba, run by Gen Saleh.

Due to several complaints about Kagingo’s conduct, orders were issued, stopping her from “coming any closer to the president whether at a private or public function.”

The instructions indicated that Kagingo must hand over passwords of Museveni’s social media accounts “because these accounts are not property of Kagingo.”

Sources say Kagingo laboured to explain to the powers that be that she was being fought by powerful officials because she had “stepped in their plate” but few listened to her.

Presidential press secretary, Tamale Mirundi, on Monday night confirmed that Kagingo was no longer on the president’s media desk: “All the president’s online presence that is Twitter, Facebook and State House website is under the ICT department at Statehouse.”

He added: “The responsibility of updating the president’s social media platforms activity is no longer under Sarah Kagingo. Recently, changes were made at State house and everybody at State House was informed of the changes.”

Chimpreports understands that a female ICT official who has worked under the President’s office for sometime was handed the responsibility of managing Museveni’s social media accounts.

The hew handler dismissing reports that the President's social media accounts had been hacked
The new Twitter handler dismissing reports that the President’s social media accounts were hacked

Hell breaks loose

The bubble burst on Sunday night. After refusing to release information on how Museveni’s Twitter and Facebook account was hacked, Owino did not realise he would spend a night in the coolers.

According to Owino’s wife, Daniella Boston, her husband “was arrested at around 9pm from our home by the special investigations unit and taken to Kireka Police (formerly Wembley) where he spent the night.”

She added: “The mad allegation is that Joseph has hacked Museveni’s official Facebook and Twitter accounts. 15 police (officers) returned to our house today (Monday) and searched every inch and seized every laptop and electronic device in the place among other things. He’s now been taken back to Kireka where it looks like they are planning on holding him at least another night.”

Daniella described the police moves as “very scary stuff and of course without any merit” before “imploring everyone to rally around Joseph at this terrible time, spread the word and if anyone knows specific ways to assist him please do so.”

Surprise

This investigative website understands that most people in State House were not aware of Owino’s arrest.

Some officers were commissioned to investigate the arrest after it was linked to Museveni’s social media accounts.

Kagingo had earlier claimed Museveni’s social media accounts had been hacked.

But a handler of the president’s Twitter account denied the allegation, saying, “I am in full control of my account. No hacker is in possession of it. Forgive @SarahKagingo for misinforming you.”

The Police were vigilant in arresting Owino considering that the matter involved the presidency.

Kagingo had entrusted the passwords of Twitter and Facebook with Owino who helped her to have the accounts “verified” by the two social media platforms.

Twitter verifies accounts on an ongoing basis to make it easier for users to find who they’re looking for.

The micro-blogging site concentrates on highly sought users in music, acting, fashion, government, politics, religion, journalism, media, sports, business, and other key interest areas. We are constantly updating our requirements for verification.

After assisting Kagingo to undertake the meticulous verification exercise, Owino kept the passwords. Remember, this is key and sensitive area considering that changing certain profile information (such as the @ username or protecting Tweets) result in the removal of a verified badge.

That account is automatically reviewed again to ensure it is eligible for verification.

Kagingo’s rivals had to find a way of accessing the passwords without hurting the verified status of the president’s social media pages.

It remains unclear whether Owino facilitated Kagingo’s rivals with passwords to takeover Museveni’s Twitter and Facebook.

Owino speaks out

In a statement released on Monday night, Owino said he had been released from police custody “after clearing allegations that he had hacked the social media profiles of the President of Uganda.”

The document further read: “The allegations, filed with the Uganda Police Force Special Investigations Unit, stated that Mr. Owino, together with other unknown persons had ‘hacked’ and taken control of the President’s social media profiles on Facebook and twitter. He spent the night at The Special Investigations Division in Kireka (also known as ‘Wembly’) and on Monday had his home and office searched, and office equipment confiscated for further investigation.”

“Mr. Owino was treated with decency by the security agencies who thoroughly investigated and found the claims to be false.”

The organisation did not clarify on its relations with Kagingo, saying, “Owino Solutions has been an active and leading social media consultant to several clients in Uganda and abroad. Due to this involvement, some unscrupulous individual who shall not be named at this point had for motives yet to be determined claimed that Mr. Owino had gained unauthorised access to the Ugandan President’s Social Media profiles. He has now been released and would like to profusely thank all who helped in exonerating him. Together with his family, he requests that you grant him the privacy to resume his daily routines.”

Tamale Mirundi, whose ties with Kagingo are said to be strained, observed: “These are stage managed events aiming at undermining the successful visit of the president as has been the case before. It has been a repetitive behaviour by scavengers to divert minds in order to hinder the president to celebrate successful events.  There was no need to arrest the man at night, and there’s a police cell whose aim is to undermine the president. This should be thoroughly investigated by police.”

Owino was released on orders of Brig Nalweyiso.

Way forward

Officials say there is need for proper structuring of the State House media desk where employees are given clear assignments and specific goals to avoid overlapping roles and clashes.

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