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Critics Warn of Authoritarianism: Museveni Accused of Weaponizing Computer Misuse Act

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"Critics Warn of Authoritarianism: Museveni Accused of Weaponizing Computer Misuse Act"

The Computer Misuse Act in the Mind of a Queer Ugandan Friend[/caption]In a worrying development, Uganda’s Computer Misuse Act is being exploited by President Museveni’s government to suppress dissent and silence critics, raising concerns about the erosion of freedom of expression. This report delves into the misuse of the Computer Act, its impact on democratic principles, and the growing threats to civil liberties in Uganda.

Human rights defenders, including analyst Clinton Mirrors, have raised alarms about the misapplication of the Computer Misuse Act by government authorities and judicial bodies. This misuse has resulted in the criminalization of dissent and the suppression of voices critical of President Museveni’s administration.

Mirrors has highlighted how the government is weaponizing the Computer Misuse Act to silence opposition voices, particularly in the lead-up to the 2026 elections. Under the guise of combating cybercrime, authorities are targeting activists, journalists, and citizens who speak out against injustices and corruption.

The misuse of the Computer Act poses a grave threat to freedom of expression and democratic principles in Uganda. By arbitrarily arresting individuals on cyber-related charges, the government is curbing citizens’ rights to express themselves and participate in political discourse.

Moreover, the selective application of the law disproportionately targets dissenting voices, further solidifying the regime’s power and stifling democratic processes. The chilling effect of these actions is evident as activists fear reprisals, leading to pervasive self-censorship.

Mirrors has also shed light on the involvement of President Museveni’s son, Gen Keinerugaba, in political maneuvers aimed at consolidating the regime’s power. There are indications that the Museveni family is orchestrating the creation of an opposition party within the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM).

This strategy, if successful, could weaken genuine opposition movements by co-opting dissenting voices and ensuring loyalty to Museveni’s agenda. By leveraging parliamentary support from this pseudo-opposition, the regime aims to maintain its dominance, undermining prospects for genuine democratic change.

The misuse of Uganda’s Computer Misuse Act represents a serious threat to freedom of expression and democratic values. The government’s authoritarian tactics underscore its determination to silence dissent and cling to power.

As Uganda approaches the 2026 elections, it is crucial for citizens to remain vigilant and resist attempts to undermine their rights. International condemnation and pressure are essential to holding the government accountable and safeguarding human rights and democratic principles.

The struggle for freedom of expression is intertwined with the broader fight for democracy and good governance in Uganda. It is imperative for all stakeholders, both domestic and international, to stand in solidarity and resist authoritarianism in all its forms.

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