Twitter has for the best part of Tuesday and Wednesday been awash with comments making fun of journalists for confirming the arrest of former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.
As Ugandans were still making sense of what had happened to Gen Kayihura whom President Museveni fired in March this year and replaced him with his deputy Martins Okoth Ochola as IGP, several journalists and online publications hurried to post on their social media walls and platforms ‘confirming’ his arrest at his Lyantonde home on Tuesday.
However, one Canary Mugume, whom many have in the recent past described as a credible journalist attached to NBS TV took most sticks after it emerged that Museveni’s former blue-eyed boy had not been arrested after a military chopper missed him at his country farm in Lyantonde.
It was not therefore surprising that his employer also fell pray of his #ICanConfirm tweet.
The army on Wednesday morning dispelled ‘rumours’ of Kayihura arrest as false and fake news on social media. Some mainstream media houses also quoted the general saying he was at his Lyantonde farm ‘chilling’.
Hours later, it emerged that he had been arrested on Wednesday afternoon. The army issued a statement saying Kayihura had been picked by a military chopper and indeed flown to Kampala on Wednesday. This was contrary to the Tuesday #ICanConfirm reports.
Mr Mugume broke the news of the arrest of general Kayihura, but no authority came in to confirm the news. He however confirmed the news himself, saying #Icanconfirm.
This however sparked noise from the public, questioning his credibility as a journalist. As one of the principles in journalism, for news to be rated as credible or truthful, it has to be verified by confirmation from reliable and relevant authorities.
The noise that was sparked on twitter prompted the broadcaster’s boss to make a public apology on twitter confirming that what his boy had tweeted was confirmed to be unconfirmed.
“Are you confused! Sorry! #WeAreJustTryingToConfirm that it was false,” he tweeted.
Social media followers even reached an extent of creating a harshtag dubbed #Icanconfirm.
Below are some of the comments from the people
@rkabushenga: Can we start a #ICanConfirm challenge? Find something you can confirm & tweet
@deniszenk: #ICanConfirm NBS Chaps are competing for RTs and Likes Instead of giving us credible BWINO! Young boys can you stop playing with us! We now have to refund MoKash borrowed for drinking to FAKE NEWS..
@arthurtotally: #ICanConfirm Ugandan journalists spread fake news faster than a wild fire.
@rkabushenga: #ICanConfirm that I am with Dr. Josephine Wapakhabulo, CEO, Uganda National Oil Company. We are attending a media workshop to understand their mandate. T. Glencross, CEO @DailyMonitor is seated next to us figuring out what to confirm
@pmwesige: Dear #Ugandan #Media: #Icanconfirm that journalism’s “essence is a discipline of verification” —The Elements of Journalism. Let’s not give #fressfreedom #freedomofexpression detractors an excuse to gag us. #LetsGetItRight
@arthurtotally: #ICanConfirm that the media in Uganda has part time comedians who haven’t discovered that they are talent yet.
@WasikeAbdu: #ICanConfirm that Vipers SC is set to unveil former Real Madrid Coach Zinedine Zidane as their new manager.
@simkyazze: #ICanConfirm that #Morocco’s bid to host the World Cup in 2026 has no chance against the triple-threat of Canada-USA-Mexico. Frankly, most individual countries would lose against this triumvirate. But Morocco? A country which does not even consider itself #African? Ha!
@HaroldWander: #ICanConfirm the post has since been deleted
@SolomonSerwanjj: The story of the reported arrest of former police boss Gen. Kale Kayihura puts to test the very core of journalism which is telling the TRUTH. Should we break the story using ‘CREDIBLE’ sources or should we wait to CONFIRM with 100% certainty before we go to break the news.