Back to Africa Check

No, Ugandan sheikh not being charged by police for refusing to hold president’s portrait 

According to a graphic shared on Facebook, Ugandan police spokesperson Fred Enanga has told “Sheikh Muzaata” to report to the police “for refusing to hold the President’s portrait”.

Text in the graphic reads: “ENANGA: Sheikh Muzaata should report himself to CPS for refusing to hold the President’s portrait. He will be charged with disrespecting the person of the President.”

The graphic includes two photos, a larger one of Enanga, talking into a microphone, and a smaller inset photo of Nuhu Muzaata, a Muslim leader known to be critical of Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni

In the photo of the sheikh, he is sitting with his hands clasped together in his lap while a man seated next to him holds up an election poster promoting Museveni. 

Uganda goes to the polls in 2021.

Data from CrowdTangle, Facebook’s public insights tool, shows the page has been shared dozens of times, attracting hundreds of reactions.

Is Muzaata really in trouble with the law for not physically holding up the president’s campaign poster in this photo? We checked.

‘Fake news’

The Uganda Police Force shared an almost identical screenshot on their official Facebook account, stamped “FAKE NEWS” in red. 

It shows the same photo of Enanga and the same quote attributed to him, but doesn’t include the smaller photo of Muzaata. 

A reverse image search shows that the picture of Enanga was originally taken by Reuters photographer Newton Nabwaya in April 2019. The police spokesperson was addressing the media about the abduction and rescue of a tourist from the US. 

The police shared the screenshot alongside photos of two men accused by the police of “posting all sorts of misinformation to redicule [sic] the force’s image”. 

According to the 25 September 2020 post, the two men had “been operating fake police Twitter and Facebook accounts” and were “being interrogated” after they “were found in possession of gadgets they have been using to operate these fake accounts”.

Context for photo of Muzaata unknown

The smaller photo in the graphic circulating on Facebook has a watermark on it that says “Bukkede Online”. 

We contacted Bukedde, a daily Luganda-language newspaper. They couldn’t give us the background story to the photo, but confirmed that any claims Muzaata was summoned by the police were false.

We also contacted the sheikh, but he has not responded to our calls or text messages. We will update this report should he do so.

There is, however, no evidence police spokesperson Fred Enanga told Sheikh Muzaata to report himself to the police. – Grace Gichuhi


Republish our content for free

We believe that everyone needs the facts.

You can republish the text of this article free of charge, both online and in print. However, we ask that you pay attention to these simple guidelines. In a nutshell:

1. Do not include images, as in most cases we do not own the copyright.

2. Please do not edit the article.

3. Make sure you credit "Africa Check" in the byline and don't forget to mention that the article was originally published on

For publishers: what to do if your post is rated false

A fact-checker has rated your Facebook or Instagram post as “false”, “altered”, “partly false” or “missing context”. This could have serious consequences. What do you do?

Click on our guide for the steps you should follow.

Publishers guide

Africa Check teams up with Facebook

Africa Check is a partner in Meta's third-party fact-checking programme to help stop the spread of false information on social media.

The content we rate as “false” will be downgraded on Facebook and Instagram. This means fewer people will see it.

You can also help identify false information on Facebook. This guide explains how.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.
limit: 600 characters

Want to keep reading our fact-checks?

We will never charge you for verified, reliable information. Help us keep it that way by supporting our work.

Become a newsletter subscriber

Support independent fact-checking in Africa.