Court Dismisses Twitter Case Against Museveni, Kasingye, Opondo

High Court Judge Andrew Bashaija on Wednesday dismissed with costs a case in which Hilary Innocent Seguya, a Ugandan based abroad accused three government officials of blocking him on their twitter accounts which he said violated some provisions of the constitution

Among the officials was President Yoweri Museveni, Chief Political Commissar of the Uganda Police AIGP Asan Kasingye   and Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo

In his application filed by his agent Hassan Male Mabirizi, Seguya had asked court to declare that the decisions which were taken by these officials to block him from following, viewing, contacting, replying, liking, tagging and retweeting the tweets on their respective twitter handles was illegal, procedurally improper, unreasonable and irrational.

Seguya claimed these social media accounts were being used as public forums to disseminate information relating to the activities of the officials’ public offices in their official capacities and to get feedback from citizens like him.

While ruling the matter however, the judge said the case was not properly brought before his court and that it was a mix up of both a Judicial review and enforcement of human rights, yet these cannot be handled together.

“It is a hybrid and quite alien to our laws and jurisprudence. It is incapable of proper adjudication by court and fails to meet the criteria under Section 33 (supra). It is neither amenable for judicial review nor for the enforcement of rights. It is improperly before court and thus incurably defective.”

On the issue of violating Seguya’s constitutional rights, Bashaija ruled that no right of the applicant was violated or infringed upon since the twitter handles are held in private capacities and therefore the owners have a right to choose who to follow and who to block.

The judge went ahead and noted that this was satisfactorily demonstrated by AIGP Asan Kasingye, in his affidavit in reply were he stated that the respective institutions have separate official twitter accounts which they operate to communicate official/public matters.

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