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Court sets May 20 to deliver ruling on Museveni's twitter case

By Farooq Kasule

Added 27th February 2020 04:38 PM

Seguya wants a declaration that the decision by the President to block him from accessing his Twitter account infringes on his right against discrimination guaranteed under Articles 21, 29, 38, 41, 42 and 43 of the Constitution.

Court sets May 20 to deliver ruling on Museveni's twitter case

Seguya wants a declaration that the decision by the President to block him from accessing his Twitter account infringes on his right against discrimination guaranteed under Articles 21, 29, 38, 41, 42 and 43 of the Constitution.

COURT   SOCIAL MEDIA

KAMPALA-The High Court has set May 20 to deliver its ruling in a case in which a Ugandan student at Harvard University accuses President Yoweri Museveni of blocking him on Twitter.

On Thursday High Court judge Andrew Bashaija set the dates after petitioner Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya through his agent Hassan Male Mabirizi and Attorney General entered their submissions in the matter.

Seguya wants a declaration that the decision by the President to block him from accessing his Twitter account infringes on his right against discrimination guaranteed under Articles 21, 29, 38, 41, 42 and 43 of the Constitution.

He also wants a permanent injunction restraining government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and the Police Director of Political Commissariat, Asan Kasingye, from blocking him on their Twitter handles.

He contends that the trio's twitter accounts are used as public forums to disseminate information relating to the activities of their public offices in their official capacities and to get feedback from citizens.

"As a Ugandan citizen living abroad, I am only capable of getting information relating to his country's governance and to communicate to the respective officers including the President through their respective Twitter handles," Seguya contends.

Mabirizi told court that Seguya wants court to award him sh6b in general damages, arguing that he suffered mental anguish from the time President Museveni blocked him.

"My Lord, the petitioner whom I represent wants sh6b in general damages because he has since suffered mental anguish and feels discriminated from other Ugandans," Mabirizi submitted.

The sh6b demand by Seguya stunned Justice Bashaija who said, "He wants sh6b for a twitter block. Oh my God this could be the Judiciary budget."

In reply, State Attorney Imelda Adong from the Attorney General's Chambers asked court to dismiss the case on grounds that it lacks merit and abuses the court process.

Ofwono speaks out

However, immediately after court, Opondo said Mabirizi is just a busy body. "I think Mabirizi is a time-waster because our twitter handles are not official government platforms and neither have they been gazetted," Opondo said.

Adding, "Twitter is my private thing and secondly there is no right which does not have a limit. If you do not behave reasonably, I block you. We deserve decorum and respect."

According to Seguya, he was on July 30, 2019, blocked by President Museveni from following, viewing, contacting, replying, liking, tagging and retweeting the tweets on his handle without notice and/or affording the applicant a hearing.

Opondo is said to have blocked Seguya on August 8 while Kasingye blocked him on July 20.

Seguya says that their actions infringe on his freedom from discrimination, thought, conscience and belief guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution.

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