Makindye court orders WhatsApp group admin to reinstate ejected member

Makindye court orders WhatsApp group admin to reinstate ejected member

Kampala, Uganda | URN | Makindye Chief Magistrate’s Court has ordered the administrator of “Buyanja My Roots” WhatsApp group to reinstate Herbert Baitwababo following his ejection from the group.

The acting senior grade one magistrate, Igga Adiru on Monday 19, June 2023 directed Allan Asinguza and issued a permanent injunction prohibiting Asinguza, his agents, and assignees from further violating Baitwababo’s right to association. 

He, however, didn’t issue any orders on the costs of the suit. This followed a successful application filed by Baitwababo through Volen Advocates on May 30, 2023 contesting his ejection from the WhatsApp group.

In his application, Baitwababo informed the court that Asinguza formed the “Buyanja My Roots” WhatsApp group for their sub-county, Buyanja, in Rukungiri district with the purpose of contributing to charity works, offering condolences, and support during calamities in their sub-county.

Each group member was required to pay Shs 30,000 for membership, an agreement that all members, including Baitwababo, consented to. According to Baitwababo’s affidavit, on May 16, 2023, he sent a letter to Asinguza requesting the instrument that authorized them to manage the group’s affairs, an audit report, and accountability for the funds collected from registered members since 2017.

“As a consequence of the above letter the respondent removed me from the WhatsApp groups of “Buyanja Back to My Roots” on the 17th Day of May 2023,” read the petition in part. 

Baitwababo claimed that his removal from the group was intended to infringe upon his right to association and unjustly enrich the others.

“I pray for the protection of this court through issuance of an order directing the respondent to add me back to the WhatsApp group and a permanent order restraining the respondent/Asinguza from ejecting me from the WhatsApp groups of the association,” Baitwababo told court.

Based on the evidence presented, the court issued the orders in Baitwababo’s favour. Screenshots submitted as evidence revealed that after Baitwababo’s removal from the group, some remaining members made derogatory remarks about him, while others expressed their desire to have him back but in a discriminatory manner due to his size. 

One of the members, “Allan Chairman BMR,” posted that they had been discussing the issue for two days, and it appeared that the members were not understanding it.

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“As a result of this, you have read a letter above to that effect, it’s no longer appropriate to discuss this issue here. To maintain and not to tamper with evidence, I will remove the complainant and when this issue is sorted with him, he will be returned,” posted Allan at 7:52 pm.

Other members such as a one Solita commented saying “Nitukeenda”, meaning we still want him, Nancy Anita demanded to know if at the moment the group activities were being put on halt. 

To support his case, Baitwababo also included a screenshot of his conversation with Asinguza, in which he had served him a letter regarding his complaint. Asinguza read the message but did not respond to it. Our reporter was unable to get the two parties to comment on the ruling by the time of publishing this story.