Senior Presidential Press Secretary, Don Wanyama has described a Wall Street Journal (WSJ) article into the hacking of legislator Robert Kyagulanyi’s WhatsApp and Skype accounts by China as ‘hogwash’.
The article, published on Wednesday claims Ugandan authorities supposedly used messages in the WhatsApp group to thwart plans for street rallies and arrested Kyagulanyi, popularly known as Bobi Wine and dozens of his supporters.
Bobi Wine, the leader of People Power movement is a critic of President Yoweri Museveni. He recently announced intentions to challenge President Museveni for presidency.
“I cannot talk to you about sensitive stuff on my phone because our conversation is being listened to,” Bobi Wine claims in the WSJ video accompanying the story.
The article quotes senior security officials working directly with the telecom giant Huawei employees in Uganda and Zambia saying that technicians from the Chinese powerhouse have, in at least two cases, personally helped African governments to spy on their political opponents, including intercepting their encrypted communications and social media, and using cell data to track their whereabouts.
“A pop star turned political sensation, Bobi Wine had returned from Washington with U.S backing for his opposition movement, and Uganda’s cyber-surveillance unit had strict orders to intercept his encrypted communications, using the broad powers of a 2010 law that gives the government the ability ‘to secure its multidimensional interests,” the report reads in part.
But Wanyma took to twitter to denounce the claims.
“This WSJ story on Huawei helping governments hack into opposition phones is total hogwash. There’s no evidence. This is a continuation of the US-China trade war, a new frontier being opened in Africa. You don’t need to hack a phone to know that the Busabala concerts were political,” he tweeted on Thursday.
Huawei has also come out to dismiss the report.
In a statement provided to Wall Street Journal, a Huawei spokesperson wrote; “Huawei rejects completely these unfounded and inaccurate allegations against our business operations. Our internal investigation shows clearly that Huawei and its employees have not been engaged in any of the activities alleged. We have neither the contracts, nor the capabilities, to do so.”
Huawei is facing opposition from some parts of the world most especially the United States of America which claims that the company uses its 5G technology to spy on other networks. This has been a factor that has contributed to the strained relationship between the USA and China. Huawei has over the months denied any allegations of spying on other networks and also denied the claims by The WSJ.