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Fears of Cambridge Analytica Style Manipulation of Ugandan Election as Museveni Hires Israeli ICT Firm for Campaigns

Uganda seems to have plucked a page from the public Cambridge analytica scandal that played into the politics in Kenya, India, Australia, the US, UK and other countries.

Through meticulous planning, coordination with high profile experts and employment of highly sophisticated technology, the 2021 elections could as well be done and decided.

Israeli IT experts have already pitched tent in Uganda to supply President Yoweri Museveni with data for his election campaign. This is according to intel from highly placed sources.

Museveni is said to be seeking to extend his rule for another term when the country goes to the polls early next year. If he succeeds, this will be his fourth decade in power.

Presidential contenders Bobi Wine and Besigye

Reports indicate that Israeli data analysis specialist Ronen Levy has been working side by side with the Indian firm, Innovis Telecom Services, which has offices in Uganda. Inon Kanner and Roy Zeevis, two other experts in IT systems, are also said to be in the city. The two have been linked to Israeli defence and security firm Elbit Systems, which specializes in Cyber intelligence.

Interestingly, Kanner and Zeevis have reportedly teamed up with their Kenyan peers to supervise a data analysis project on behalf of the political strategists of the National Resistance Movement (NRM), the ruling party in Uganda. The team is also tasked with developing election campaign tools for Museveni’s team.

Last month, the Electoral Commission of Uganda announced that they were gearing up for virtual campaigns due to the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be interesting to see the campaign strategies in place for such a task with the current plans in motion.

President Museveni

This is not the first time the Israeli IT experts are lending a hand to the Ugandan Government. In 2019, Israel Cyber Intelligence firm NSO Group, a subsidiary of Q cyber technologies, supplied the country with Pegasus software, which enables the government to spy on people by hacking the WhatsApp application using a back door method.

READ: TikTok, WeChat Among 59 Chinese Apps Banned In India

Cambridge Analytica confirmed its involvement in manipulating the Kenyan elections by mining data from millions of Kenyans to help President Uhuru Kenyatta win the disputed elections twice. The firm worked with 360 Media, owned by Mount Kenya University founder, Simon Gicharu and Tom Mshindi, the then Editor in Chief at Nation Media Group (NMG)

360 Media developed online campaigns portraying candidate Raila Odinga as a “bloodthirsty individual who was sympathetic to Al Shabaab and with no development agenda” while portraying Uhuru Kenyatta as “tough on terrorism and good for the economy.”

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Written by Vanessa Murrey

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