FACT CHECK: Does This Photo Show Young People Stopping A Police Officer From Stealing A Ballot Box During Uganda’s 2021 Presidential Election?

Trevor Schakohl | Legal Reporter

An image shared on Facebook and Twitter purportedly shows young people preventing a police officer from stealing a ballot box during Uganda’s 2021 presidential election.

Verdict: False

The photo predates the 2021 Ugandan presidential election by nearly five years. It shows a police officer carrying a box of election materials during the country’s 2016 presidential election.

Fact Check:

Ugandans on Thursday voted in the country’s presidential election, according to U.S. News and World Report. Uganda’s electoral commission on Saturday declared President Yoweri Museveni, who was seeking a sixth term, the winner over his main challenger Bobi Wine, who has alleged there was widespread fraud, Reuters reported.

Social media users have been sharing a photo of a law enforcement officer carrying a box with a crowd surrounding him. One Facebook user claimed on Thursday that the photo shows “young people stopping a police man from stealing ballot box in Uganda presidential elections today,” while a Twitter user captioned it, “5:30 Pm Today Ugandan Youths Stopped This Meniac From Running away With the Ballot Box!”

The photo, however, does not show a scene from Uganda’s presidential election on Thursday. Through a reverse image search, Check Your Fact found that the picture was taken near the Ugandan city of Kampala by Ben Curtis for The Associated Press nearly five years ago on Feb. 18, 2016. The country’s 2016 presidential election took place that day, as noted by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems.

“A police officer struggles to keep hold of a box containing voting materials, as excited voters surround him after waiting over 7 hours without being able to vote, at a polling station in Ggaba, on the outskirts of Kampala, Uganda, on Feb. 18, 2016,” reads The Associated Press’ caption. (RELATED: Did Barack Obama And Joe Biden Tweet, ‘#FreeBobiWine’?)

During the 2021 Ugandan presidential campaign, Wine and other opposition leaders were beaten and detained on several occasions by authorities, according to The New York Times. In November, dozens of people were killed when security forces responded to riots sparked by Wine’s arrest for allegedly violating COVID-19 restrictions during rallies, CNN reported.

Trevor Schakohl

Legal Reporter
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