Hillary Innocent Sseguya, a Harvard University student in the United
States of America (USA) dragged Museveni to court for blocking him on
his Twitter handle.
The president was sued alongside government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and the police’s Chief Political Commissar, AIGP Asan Kasingye for blocking the Bobi Wine supporter from accessing their Twitter handles.
On Monday, Sseguya, through his lawyer, Male Mabirizi told court that blocking him on Twitter caused him a lot of suffering in getting information about the developments in Uganda.
“These are public channels use to relay information but he has gone through a lot of suffering because he is in the US and does not get information regarding developments in the country. He is seeking for shs6 billion in general damages for the anguish caused to him,” Mabirizi told Justice Andrew Bashaija during the hearing of the case at the Civil Division of the High Court in Kampala on Thursday.
Sseguya’s lawyer argued that articles 21, 29, 39, 41, 42 43 and 44 of the Constitution were violated when the three government officials blocked him from accessing their Twitter handles.
Citing a case in the US where President Donald Trump was asked to unblock a follower, Mabirizi speaking on behalf of the Harvard University student said the Twitter handles for the three government officials are no longer private and therefore no one should be stopped from accessing them.
“These officials use Twitter handles to relay government information and diplomatic issues. They (handles) lost their privacy and are now public accounts. These accounts are therefore channels used to communicate public information and anyone can respond to them in any way they think is appropriate,” he told court.
The lawyer told court that by blocking his client, the action of the three government officials can only be equaled to political persecution and a violation of the Harvard University student’s right to information that he asked court to tame by ruling the case in his favour.
The lawyer told court that the Bobi Wine supporter was never accorded a fair hearing by the three government officials before blocking him on Twitter, arguing that it was illegal.
“No notice was given to him before being blocked. Even if the three officials had the power to do it, they ought to have subjected him to a fair hearing as a right.”
The representative of the Attorney General, Imelda Adong told court she would respond to the applicant’s submissions in writing.
Justice Andrew Bashaija set May 20, 2020 as the date to give his ruling in the matter.