Crime & Investigation

Mwenda: TVO Account Ran by Semuwemba, Shaka, Rugasira

Tom Voltaire Okwalinga's identity remains a matter of speculation

Controversial Ugandan journalist, approved http://civilianpeaceservice.ca/wp-includes/class-wp-site.php Andrew Mwenda has named three people he says run the conspiracy theorist account, Tom Voltaire Okwalinga/TVO.

Mwenda’s disclosure has touched off a social media firestorm with many cautioning the identified people could face state harassment.

“Tom Voltaire Okwalinga is a Facebook account run by three radical extremists who support Kizza Besigye,” said Mwenda.

He identified them as “Robert Shaka who lives in Kampala, Uganda; Abbey Semuwemba, who lives in UK and Henry Lugasira who lives Canada.”

He said the trio is “helped by a lady I will not name for now,” before describing the group as “demented psychopathic maniacs and the kind who support Besigye’s extremism.”

Mwenda on Sunday went ahead to publish what he described as “their hacked Facebook profiles, including whom they communicate with.”

“For example, four Twitter accounts were opened using one email address poliko2010@gmail.com – that of Henry Rugasira (now living in Uganda), Robert Shaka (now a dissident in the USA), Tom V Okwalinga and TVO Uganda. Shaka and Rugasira are brothers,” he added.

“I know who writes to them, who gives them info (even when given physically including location – like the Kale Kayihura tapes that leaked) and where this has happened. I also know their links with Kizza Besigye personally and elements of FDC generally.”

Mwenda is a celebrated investigative journalist.

His works have seen him uncover scandals in the public service and military establishment.

He broke the news that Amama Mbabazi would stand for president, a story that was roundly dismissed as untrue until the former premier picked the nomination papers last year.

Until recently, Mwenda was perceived as one of Museveni’s harshest critics.

At one time, Museveni boasted of defeating the political opposition but quickly added the remaining opposition was a boy called Mwenda.

However, Mwenda has in recent years been accused of metamorphosing from a critic of the president to a conformist.

Interestingly, Mwenda’s associates argue he has always been critical of both opposition and the ruling establishment but that a new wave of opposition radicalism has blindfolded the public to this fact.

Mwenda, who recently launched a cyber war against what he calls opposition extremism, has won the hearts of moderates and equally angered the radical opposition wing.

Semuwemba, who runs the controversial Ugandans at Heart email group, described the accusation against him as a “conspiracy theory,” adding, “the conspirator fired a lot of empty bullets on my door step.”

He added: “It was basically a nice display of hateful ignorance. If posting nonsense were real money some people would be extremely wealthy.”

Evidence

But Mwenda says he has evidence pinning Semuwemba.

“But I can post pictures of Semuwemba with Besigye in a hotel in London. Or reveal a lot on the activities of TVO which would attract many people to this site,” said Mwenda.

“But this movement is not seeking cheap popularity or fight individuals. Our aim is to expose radical extremism that Besigye is using in his pursuit of power.”

The TVO account is accused by authorities of publishing falsehoods and damaging material against state officials and first family members.

TVO claims to have access to classified information. But intelligence officials believe TVO is spoon-fed rumours by insiders to settle scores.

In response to Mwenda’s revelations, TVO observed: “The Ugandan regime and its intelligence services have very inadequate capacity to stop this mission, and the only time they will meet TVO, is in the new Uganda when TVO may be among the people interrogating them for crimes they have committed against the citizens.”

TVO added: “Until then, anyone who comes up with some theory on TVO, should be regarded as an attention seeker and misguided.”

Despite these denials, Mwenda says he knows “who writes to them, who gives them info (even when given physically including location – like the Kale Kayihura tapes that leaked) and where this has happened. I also know their links with Kizza Besigye personally and elements of FDC generally.”

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