Besigye also wants court to compel UBC to strictly observe the rights of the presidential candidates in elections in future
Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye has asked the High Court to award him general and punitive damages yet to be assessed against the Uganda Broadcasting Corporation (UBC) for refusing to air his campaign programmes during the 2011 presidential campaigns.
Besigye, the former president of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), also told the court that the Constitution commands UBC to treat all presidential candidates equally during the campaigns.
Besigye, 61, was giving evidence on Monday before High Court judge Margaret Oguli-Oumo in a civil suit he instituted against UBC, contending that its management infringed upon his fundamental rights and freedoms when they refused to air his detailed campaign programmes for which they had made him pay over sh20m.
Led by his lawyer Ernest Kalibbala of A.F.Mpanga Advocates, Besigye told the court that by refusing to air his campaign programmes as a presidential candidate, UBC management breached the Constitution particularly where it states; “state-owned media has a duty to give equal time and space to all presidential candidates during the whole of their campaigns”.
Besigye also asked the court to compel UBC to strictly observe in future the rights of the presidential candidates in the elections in Uganda.
He also asked the court to award him interest of 10% and 15% on general and exemplary damages respectively plus costs of the suit.
Cross-examined by Kiryowa Kiwanuka, one of the lawyers that represented UBC, Dr Besigye said that although he did not personally interact with UBC, his obligation was to represent the Inter-party Corporation (IPC) that was a corporation initiative of several opposition political parties.
Kiwanuka demanded to be shown the contract Besigye had with UBC. But, the witness told the court that there were at least four order forms that were provided by UBC and; they were signed and; which are on record.
Cross-examined by Kalibbala, Brian Pacuto, a sales executive of UBC told the court after realising that Dr Besigye’ programmes had not been aired, he was told that the editorial board that was to sanction them for broadcast had not been constituted because all its members were out on different assignments.