Kampala, Uganda | URN | Seguya Hillary Innocent Taylor, a Harvard University student who lost a case against President Yoweri Museveni two months ago has turned to the East African Court of Justice for redress.
Seguya, a student of International Relations at Harvard University sued the President for blocking him as a follower on his Twitter handle @KagutaMuseveni. In the same case, Seguya sued the Police Chief Political Commissar Asan Kasingye and the government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo.
Seguya who uses twitter handle @HillaryTaylorVI told the court that he was blocked from accessing President Yoweri Museveni’s handle @KagutaMuseveni, on July 20, 2019. Days later, he was blocked by @OfwonoOpondo, a handle owned by the government spokesperson and @Akasingye, owned by the Police Political Commissar
But he was offended by the actions of those who blocked him and challenged them in the courts of law. Seguya insisted that by blocking him, the three officials were denying him a right to information access because their handles were often used to disseminate important government information which he would miss if he was blocked.
However, the High Court in Kampala dismissed the case. The Head of the Civil Division of the High Court, Justice Andrew Bashaija declared that there was no illegality in blocking Seguya because the said handles are personal and the owners have the freedom to choose their followers. He advised Seguya to instead follow @PoliceUg, @UgandaMediaCent for the Media Centre which is headed by Ofwono Opondo and @StateHouseUg for information from the State House.
Seguya says that he was not yet contented with the decision of blocking him from following, viewing, contacting, replying, liking, tagging and retweeting tweets from the said government officials.
“…handles are used as public forums to disseminate information relating to the activities of their official capacities and to get feedback from citizens.” the applicant points out in the subject of the reference.
Acting through his recognized agent Male Mabirizi, Seguya alleges that the process and the decision by Justice Bashaija regarding the suit were unlawful and infringed on several provisions of the treaty for the establishment of East African Community including but not limited to accountability, transparency, and maintenance of universally accepted standards of human rights.
He lists nine grounds which according to him need to be addressed for him to get justice. One of the grounds of reference is the Uganda High Court’s action of deciding outside the 90 days required by the countries judicial review rules. He also challenges the action of relying on Uganda’s Human Rights Enforcement Act in determining the case yet it was only published in the gazette on November 15, 2019, way after filling the application.
The East African Court of Justice has asked the Attorney General to file a response with 45 days.