The civil division of the High Court in Kampala has ruled that President Museveni was right to block a supporter of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine on twitter.
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 Wednesday Justice Andrew Bashaija ruled that the US judgement 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.
“Records Administration advised the White House that the Presidential tweets are official records for preservation under the said Act. Several other case law authorities are quoted and principles therein relied upon. Such legislations and case law principles espoused, do not obtain in our jurisdiction, which is founded on common law jurisdiction, unlike the USA,” Justice Bashaija ruled.
According to the judge the twitter handles for Museveni, AIGP Asan Kasingye and Ofwono Opondo are personal and there are alternative handles that are used to exclusively communicate official government positions and therefore the three government officials have a right to use their personal handles in a manner they deem fit.
Justice Bashaija named @stateHouseUg; @ugandamediacent; and @policeUg as the official twitter handles for State House, government of Uganda of Uganda and Uganda Police Force respectively and these are exclusively used to communicate official positions.
“Being private twitter handles, therefore, the respective persons have the latitude to choose on whom to allow or block on those handles” the judge ruled.
“Equally, there is nothing illegal or which precludes a public official from using his/her private twitter handle to communicate or comment on a private matter or on issue of public concern. That would not in itself transform a private twitter handle public.”
The judge consequently dismissed the application and ordered the Bobi Wine supporter to pay costs because there was no evidence to show that any of his rights had been violated by being blocked on twitter by President Museveni, Ofwono Opondo and AIGP Asan Kasingye.