By Adam Nuwamanya
The civil division of the high court in Kampala has dismissed the suit filed by the once NBS Frontline show political pundit and former Ccedu Chairperson, Miria Matembe and her husband Nekemia Matembe, against government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, former NBS Frontline Show host Charles Odongtho and NBS television, which cited defamation.
In Matembe’s suit, she largely accused Ofwono Opondo of uttering defamatory statements where he (Opondo) said he heard that Matembe’s husband, Nekemia Matembe, left her and opted to sleep with housemaids. This was shortly after Matembe ridiculed Opondo and accused him of enjoying the Wealth Creation Cows instead of delivering them to the expected beneficiaries.
“Ofwono Opondo, you are there enjoying the wealth cows, I saw the other night on TV, get yourself these cows for wealth creation, they go to them. So because of those cows, because of what they are eating out there, they are just betraying Ugandans …”accused Matembe
“I am sure Hon. Matembe has suffered similar things. They said her husband left her and slept with housemaids …. I hope that is correct … I am saying I hope that was correct….I don’t fear that … I hope that was right as well.” fired back Ofwono Opondo.
In the ruling delivered via email to both the parties, the presiding Judge, Justice Philip Odoki justifies the dismissal of the case with conviction that the statements complained about do not have any defamatory imputation.
“If the actual words complained of as being defamatory are not set out in the plaint, the plaint would be defective. … It cannot be said that the plaintiffs suffered as a result of those statements. Issue 8 is therefore resolved in the negative” rules Odoki.
Source of Conflict:
Miria Matembe, the voice of reason (as she dubbed herself) was once one of the political pundits on the Uganda’s leading political Show, Nbs Frontline. The scenario happened on the night of 27th July, 2017 during the discussion on the Age Limit with the topic; Making Sense of the Age Limit.
The show was hosted by Odongtho, with Matembe, Nobert Mao, and Ofwono Opondo as Frontliners, then, Dr. Kizza Besigye, Hon. Kahinda Otafiire as guests.
After Ofwono-Matembe’ verbal exchange, Miria Matembe ordered Ofwono Opondo to withdraw the statement or else she would sue him.
According to the ruling, the dismissal comes with costs to the defendant.
How the NBS Community Welcomes the Ruling
The Chief Legal officer Next Media Services, Obadia Ismail Otim while reiterating Court’s ruling via his twitter account on Wednesday 21st December, joyfully welcomed the court’s decision while expressing gratitude to the legal team for the defendants, Tomas Ocaya of Ms K&K Advocates and Muhammad Kajubi of MS M.A Kajubi Advocates for the case victory.
Matembe has said she will carefully study the ruling before filing her appeal.