President since 1986, one of the longest-serving leaders in Africa and the world Won a sixth term in 2021 in an election marked by widespread police abuses, including against journalists
Predator since the mid-1990s
Uganda, 125th/180 countries in the 2021 World Press Freedom Index
PREDATORY METHOD: Hate speech and harassment
Yoweri Museveni often uses threats, insults and curses to publicly attack the journalists and media that criticise him or his authoritarian methods. He has called them “parasites,” “stupid,” “evil” and “enemies of the state.” At a joint press conference with Rwandan President Paul Kagame in 2018, he referred to them as “rumour mongers [who] should always get something to eat” while Kagame smirked.
Museveni’s verbal attacks serve as a green light for the harassment of journalists by the security services, who use physical violence, arrest them arbitrarily and destroy their equipment. Censorship is also used. The Internet is often disconnected while social media are monitored by a team of police officers and ICT experts. Economic, administrative and judicial harassment completes the repressive methods. Social media account holders have been subject to a daily tax since 2018, advertisers are pressured not to place ads with critical media outlets, while the latter are sometimes suspended arbitrarily or prosecuted with the aim of silencing them.
FAVOURITE TARGETS: Independent journalists and media
OFFICIAL DISCOURSE: Insults and contempt
“Yes, we are committed to the freedom of the press, but see, the press, especially the Western press, is arrogant. You don't want to learn; you know it all. Then you come on and impose your ignorance on our society. So that's the problem we are having. How can we continue dealing with these arrogant ignoramuses?" (Interview for NPR, 12 January 2021).