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Altered photo used to claim Ugandan opposition politician Mpuuga running for 2026 presidency

IN SHORT: Social media posts suggest that prominent Ugandan opposition leader Mathias Mpuuga has announced his candidacy for the 2026 presidential election. But the photo proffered as proof has been digitally altered.

A photo that continues to circulate on social media shows Mathias Mpuuga, a prominent opposition leader in Uganda, holding a campaign poster of himself that reads “President 2026". 

The image suggests that Mpuuga is planning to run for president in the country’s 2026 general elections. It has also been shared here and here. Together, the posts have been viewed over 11,000 times and have received many comments. 

Mpuuga was previously a deputy president of the National Unity Platform (NUP) and leader of the opposition from June 2021 to January 2024. Joel Ssenyonyi replaced him as leader, a decision made by party president, Robert Kyagulanyi, better known as Bobi Wine.

Mpuuga has been a vocal advocate for constitutional, legal, and political reform in Uganda.

In February 2024, the NUP asked Mpuuga to resign from his position as a parliamentary commissioner over corruption allegations. But he refused, claiming that this was based on misinformation. 

Bobi Wine then suspended Mpuuga as one of the party’s deputy presidents. Wine is expected to run for president in 2026. It was in this context that claims about Mpuuga running for president arose. 

But is this photo of Mpuuga announcing his candidacy authentic?

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Photo altered

Closer examination made it clear to us that the photo had been digitally altered. We did a reverse image search of the photo and found the original image, which was shared on Mpuuga’s X account on 25 February 2022. 

The original photo shows Mpuuga holding a presidential portrait of Bobi Wine. The photo in the claim is almost identical to the original photo, except that the portrait of Wine has been replaced with a poster showing Mpuuga. 

Mpuuga has not declared a presidential bid for 2026. We searched his X and Facebook pages but found no posts declaring his intention to run. If he does, it will be a newsworthy event.

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