May 21, 2020

Court dismisses ‘with costs’ suit filed by Harvard Student seeking UGX6Bn redress over Museveni Twitter blocking


Innocent Hilary Taylor Seguya, a Harvard University student dragged President Yoweri Museveni to court for illegally blocking him on his twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni.

Kampala – Court has dismissed a suit filed by Innocent Hilary Taylor Seguya, a Harvard University student who accused President Yoweri Museveni of illegally blocking him on his twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni.

Judge Andrew Bashaijja of the Civil Division of the High Court dismissed the case with costs in a Wednesday, May 20 ruling.

The other Twitter accounts in question are the Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Asan Kasingye that Hillary sought redress subsequent to the blocking

Innocent Seguya a Ugandan citizen pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations at the Harvard University was seeking UGX6Bn in damages from the president and the two other government officials.

Seguya, through his Attorney Hassan Male Mabirizi had sued Attorney General, the principal legal adviser to the government accusing President Museveni, Ofwono Opondo, and AIGP Asan Kasingye of ‘illegally’ blocking him from their respective twitter handles which he claimed they used to disseminate public information.

Opondo is the Executive Director of the Uganda Media Centre while AIGP Kasingye is the Police Chief Political Commissar and their twitter handles are @OfwonoOpondo and @Akasingye respectively.

According to Justice Andrew Bashaija, the twitter handles of President Museveni, AIGP Asan Kasingye and Ofwono Opondo are personal alternative handles that are used to exclusively communicate official government positions exist.

Therefore the three government officials have a right to use their personal handles in a manner they deem it.

The judge ruled that the US precedent in which President Donald Trump was ordered to unblock his twitter followers that Sseguya based on during his case is not applicable in Uganda because the law regimes are quite different in the two countries.

Justice Bashaija said there was no evidence that any of Hillary’s rights were violated by being blocked on Twitter by President Museveni and the two government officials. The application was, therefore, dismissed and Hillary ordered to pay costs.

The judge sustained that the use of private twitter handle by public officials on the issue of public concern would not in itself transform a private twitter handle public.

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