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No evidence of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s tweets about anti-gay law or calling US president an ‘idiot’

IN SHORT: An anti-gay rights law passed in Uganda has come under intense scrutiny. But an alleged row between its leader and Joe Biden has been trumped up.

A screenshot of what appears to be a tweet from Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni banning homosexuality in the country, and a response from US president Joe Biden showing his disapproval, has been posted on Facebook.

Museveni’s alleged tweet reads: “I have today signed a bill banning homosexuality in Uganda, I will urge other fellow African countries to take that step as well. We must protect our culture and beliefs let the west do what they want without imposing their disgusting immorality on us.”

The screenshot shows an alleged response from Biden, which reads: “Freedom is coming.” Museveni replies: “Coming where? You idiot.”

On 21 March 2023, Ugandan lawmakers passed an anti-gay law that makes some offences punishable by death and imposes sentences of up to life in prison for those who identify with the LGBTQ community.

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer.

As of 29 March, Museveni hadn't signed the law as the screenshot claims.

The country already banned homosexual acts, after parliament in 2021  passed the controversial sexual offences bill.

The latest law, which introduces more penalties, has attracted a lot of international scrutiny, including by human rights campaigners.

But is this Twitter exchange legitimate? We checked.


Ignore fake tweet

Museveni and Biden’s legitimate Twitter accounts have a grey verification checkmark next to the username, not the blue one shown in the screenshot.

According to Twitter, the grey tick shows that an account belongs to a government or multilateral organisation, or to an official.

A Twitter search for the tweets also returned no results. The date on the tweet on the screenshot is 24 March 2023. However, there is no such tweet on Museveni's Twitter timeline. We conclude that this is a fake tweet.

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