Information that started circulating last evening through WhatsApp, Facebook, and Twitter alleged that the candidate has been offered a lucrative job in the National Identification and Registration Authority-NIRA, forcing him to abandon his presidential ambitions after just a few days on the trail.
But both Katumba,24, and NIRA have dismissed this as a falsehood. According to the official NIRA communication handles, the presidential candidate had gone to pick his National Identity Card from their offices in Ntinda, and his presence there had nothing to do with a job offer.
“Mr John Katumba has picked his national id from our Nakawa division office in Ntinda kalinabiri rd. @realkatumbajohn (quoting his official Twitter handle) had lost his card and applied for a replacement,’” a tweet from NIRA, reads.
Marvin Konde, a member of Katumba’s campaign team says that as the presidential candidate went to pick a replacement for his national identification card, he had chosen to sit and wait as other citizens but officials at NIRA chose to accord him special treatment.
Katumba who is currently fighting to convince Ugandans that he is serious about his presidential bid has been a victim of fake news with many people trying to portray him as a joker, a puppet, and clown. But, the candidate and his team have overtime downplayed the posts as they conduct their campaigns in several districts and on different media platforms.
Katumba caught the public’s attention on nomination day when he was bounced by the electoral commission when he turned up with the required nomination fees of 20 million Shillings saying he had failed to bank it since he had no Tax Identification Number.
On the same day of nomination, his hired car got a puncture which saw him run to reach the nomination centre. Since then, several people have opened up social media accounts in his name putting out false information on the presidential hopeful.
Meanwhile, with Katumba’s case, several communications and political experts have already warned that the continued misinformation spread via social media is threatening the virtual campaigns since there is proven research proving that fake news can affect elections as seen in other countries like the USA.
Under the computer misuse act and other laws of Uganda, misinformation, and publication of fake news, videos, and advice through digital platforms by individuals misusing communications platforms to publish, distribute and forward false, unverified, and misleading information is illegal.