CLAIM: Photo shows young people in Uganda stopping a policeman from stealing a ballot box during the country’s presidential election on Thursday.
THE FACTS: The photo was taken by The Associated Press, during Uganda’s last presidential election in 2016. It shows a policeman struggling to keep hold of a ballot box as voters surrounded him after a long wait to vote.
In that February 2016 vote, incumbent Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni secured a fifth term in office in an election marred by violence and controversy.
“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, in Uganda Thursday, Feb. 18, 2016,” read the caption of the original AP photo.
The five-year-old image was circulating anew on Thursday as Ugandans returned to the polls in another tense presidential election.
“The youth stopping a police man from stealing ballot,” read one tweet with the photo shared more than 1,000 times on Thursday. “5:30 Pm Today Ugandan Youths Stopped This Meniac From Running away With the Ballot Box!” read another tweet with the photo.
The tweets misrepresent the image, suggesting it was taken recently. They also claim it shows a policeman stealing a ballot box, an assumption the original caption shows is false.
The misleading posts circulated as Ugandans experienced a nationwide internet blackout launched by authorities after Facebook removed some accounts linked to the incumbent president.
The current Ugandan election has been tainted by widespread violence as authorities clash with the opposition and Museveni’s critics claim he is using the pandemic to militarize the election. Museveni seeks a sixth term against leading opposition challenger Bobi Wine and nine other candidates. Results are expected by Saturday evening.