By Hillary Nsambu
The British Court of Justice has ordered a London-based Ugandan journalist, Dr. Jesse Mashate, to stop making false claims against President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
“Be an extended civil restraint order imposed on the claimant stopping him from applying for making any claims or applying for any orders against the defendant without the permission of the judge, and without notice,” the order read.
The court was dismissing a case in which Mashate had obtained a default judgment with orders compelling President Museveni to pay £57m (about sh232.6b) including accumulated interest from 2010 as compensation to him (Mashate) for loss of business. The court also refused Mashate permission to appeal against its orders.
In the November 4 ruling, Justice Seymour, QC, also rejected Mashate’s request to appeal against his judgment. The team defending President Museveni included Kampala-based lawyers Dr. Charles Kallu-Kalumiya, Peter Kabatsi and Joseph Matsiko, all of Kampala Associated Advocates.
The judge also ordered Mashate not to sell Ugandan properties in London.
Mashate had dragged the President to the British court in London, initially, in his personal capacity as Museveni, claiming that he had breached a gentleman’s agreement “evidenced in writing” to compensate him for his newspaper, The Weekend Digest, which the Ministry of Information and National Guidance had closed down in 1986.
However, according to the court record, which the New Vision saw, Mashate, later sued Museveni as the President of Uganda, while at some stage he also involved the Government of Uganda.
The court also ordered Mashate to pay £90,000 as costs of the case, with a breakdown of £50,000 to Museveni and £40,000 to Uganda Property Holdings (UPH) Limited, a company controlling the Uganda Government properties in the United Kingdom and elsewhere abroad.
Earlier, the court had heard that in 1986, the Government closed Mashate’s news bulletin, The Weekend Digest, published in Kampala.
It was also alleged that while attending the 1997 CHOGM business meeting in London, Museveni met Mashate and allegedly promised to pay him (Mashate) $10m (£6.8m) as compensation for the banned publication.
When Mashate realised the payment was not forthcoming, he sued the President in his personal capacity as Museveni and during all the proceedings, Museveni did not appear in court. Mashate applied and obtained a default judgment against Museveni.