If you have signed the Petition to the UN Human Rights Council (https://www.change.org/Human-Rights-Violations-in-UGANDA-2021) about the ongoing abuses by the military regime in Uganda, PLEASE READ ON and help with the investigation as to why up to 80% of signatures are missing. It could be that your name is one of the missing names.
I realised early on that some signatures of people who told me they had signed the Change.org petition had failed to be registered. It is only recently, as I’ve been trying to collect missing names, that the scale of the problem has emerged and I estimated that perhaps 50% were missing.
However, one group of five friends all signed last week – and ONLY ONE SIGNATURE was registered. There is no reason to think that there was anything different about this group of friends from everyone else, which therefore suggests that 80% of all signatures are missing. This would explain the surprisingly low total of only 3,800 signatures after three months, despite wide publicity and some donations to have it promoted beyond our personal contacts. It seems there should, in reality, be about 19,000 signatures. This would make an impact on the UN whereas 3,800 is unlikely to.
Feeling very angry, I wrote again to Change.org yesterday because this petition directly affects people’s lives, such as the boy (still a child) being taken away in the photo above.
This is the reply, which highlights various problems with Change.org which they ought to publicise:
I am truly sorry to know about the issue with the signatures, I understand the cause you are fighting for is so important and signatures are most vital to spread awareness and for your campaign to succeed, I assure you we want to ensure our platform is as reliable as possible to make that possible.
I understand people you know have signed but their signature is not counted on the signatories list, SO I WOULD LIKE TO START AN INVESTIGATION to make sure we find out exactly what happened. PLEASE ADVISE THESE SUPPORTERS to contact us individually (email@example.com) providing us the case number: 01029330 and petition URL (https://www.change.org/Human-Rights-Violations-in-UGANDA-2021) .
I would like to comment that our system is designed to prevent spam, therefore we work within guidelines that allow us maintaining transparency as much as possible in all campaigns, so signatures may be discounted by:
- Using generic email addresses. (Such as admin@, support@, info@, main@, etc)
- Browser incompatibility. (I recommend using Google Chrome if you aren’t already, as this is the most compatible browser for the platform)
- If more than one person tried to sign from the same device or the same IP address. (They have to try using different wi-fi networks or data networks)
- Device incompatibility. (I recommend using a computer if you are using a mobile device)
- Using VPN or Bots.
- Not validating via email confirmation sent to each email address account. Failing to do so will revoke the signature automatically.
- Some users may have decided to manually remove their signature or deleted their account – this might reduce the signature count as well.
- Signatories deciding not to share their name is another reason why their signatures may be discounted.
My best recommendation is that you provide the people whose signature has not been processed with the case number (01029330) and petition URL so we can start the investigation as soon as possible.
Kind regards, Daniela
Although these issues are unacceptable, especially as they don’t warn people about them, my guess is that they do perhaps partly explain why many signatures are missing. For example, many Ugandans are using VPN for security reasons and because the government often blocks access to the internet. Many families and friends may well try to use the same laptop or phone to access the petition to sign it, which isn’t possible – it has to be done on separate devices. And you might not be successful on one device but it works on another. For example, my husband tried signing on his laptop six times over a period of two months. In the end, I was able to sign for him on my iPhone, having used my own laptop to add my signature.
SO WHAT CAN WE ALL DO?
1. First, please check if your signature has been registered by Opening the petition again.
If it invites you to “Sign this petition” on the red bar, as in the image below, then your name has NOT been registered.
If your signature has been successfully registered, then it will look like the image below when you open it – the only option you are given is to share it but not to sign it.
You could also ask me to check for you as I have access to the full list of registered signatures.
2. You could check if you have ever received a confirmation email from Change.org that your signature has been registered, as in the image below. In addition to thanking you, it also invites you to help promote the petition in some way. The subject box probably contains “Margaret Stevens still needs you” and the sender’s email address is firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to do a search of your emails.
3. I know it is a lot of trouble and a lot to ask of you all, but if you know you tried to sign but have now discovered that your name hasn’t been registered, would you please be willing to help by:
1. Letting me know – please “LEAVE A COMMENT” below.
2. Writing direct to email@example.com to assist in their investigations, quoting:
a. their reference 01029330;
b. the petition URL https://www.change.org/Human-Rights-Violations-in-UGANDA-2021;
c. the date (approximately) if you can remember;
d. the device you signed on;
e. the country you signed from;
f. details of anyone else you know who has tried to sign.
Thank you all very much for your support in various ways. I have contact with so many Ugandans on Twitter who often thank me for our efforts to support them in the struggle to end the military dictatorship peacefully, thereby restoring democracy and justice to Uganda.
MPs are currently being sworn-in to Parliament in Uganda. Look at these two contrasting MPs. Which one would you want to represent you in Parliament?
Muhammad Ssegirinya (centre), NUP MP for Kawempe (Kampala), taking the oath in Parliament, is still very frail and unwell. He was abducted about two months ago and, while detained, was tortured and poisoned. He was released on the point of death but after several weeks in hospital, he is slowly recovering but cannot walk unaided. Like Bobi Wine and all NUP leaders, he is an advocate of nonviolence, even as a victim of torture and in the face of such terrible human rights abuses.
Lt. Gen. Elwelu has also just been sworn in to Parliament as one of the Army MPs. He has never been brought to justice for the massacre of about 150 men, women and children in Kasese (western Uganda) in 2016. In this interview, he said: “Those were criminals . . . . They deserved death . . . . I was on the ground . . . . I am a judge of my own.”
THIS IS WHY THE PETITION MATTERS SO MUCH.