Its David vs Goliath in Uganda after young Ugandan student sues President Museveni for blocking him on Twitter
London, August 31, 2019 (AltAfrica)– The Biblical account of David and Goliath is one of most popular stories from Scripture. It is a lesson of courage, faith, and overcoming what seems impossible.
An unknown Israelite boy called David had defied the odds to take on a great Philistine giant named Goliath that stood at over nine feet tall in a battle and came victorious
Centuries after, a similar scenario is playing in Uganda where an Ugandan student living in the US is suing the strongest man in Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni for blocking him on Twitter after he referred to the head of state as “a dictator” and said he had to go.
In the lawsuit, Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya, a global youth ambassador and master’s student of international relations at Harvard University, contends that by blocking him on Twitter, “LORD”Museveni bars him from online conversation. It leaves him unable to see or respond to tweets on the president’s official handle, @KagutaMuseveni, used as a public forum to disseminate information relating to the activities of his public office in his official capacity and to get feedback from citizens.
Seguya has petitioned the civil division of the high court in the capital, Kampala, to declare Museveni’s action as illegal, procedurally improper, unreasonable and irrational.
On 30 July 2019, he says Museveni or his aides blocked his account, without notice or affording the applicant a hearing – infringing his right against discrimination as guaranteed in the constitution, his freedom of speech and expression, and his right to participate in the affairs of government and peaceful activities to influence the policies of government.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and the director of political commissariat at Uganda’s police force, Asan Kasingye, who blocked Seguya on 8 August and 20 July respectively, are also named in the lawsuit.
In his legal complaint, filed on Monday, Seguya said: “The[ir] actions did not protect my freedom against political persecution and [restricted my] rights, which are acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society.”
Male Mabirizi Kiwanuka, who filed the petition on his behalf, said Seguya could have been blocked by the president, or his aides, after a critical post he made in April, in which he told the Ghanaian president,Nana Akufo-Addo, that he would rather have him as president than Museveni.
“I wish we could exchange you for our Ugandan president dictator, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has been for 33 years,” said Seguya after Akufo-Addo made a presentation on Pan-Africanism to a group of students at Harvard University.
“We are telling him enough is enough. He has to go,” he said.
Kiwanuka said that Seguya was not aware of any reason why Museveni, Ofwono Opondo and Kasingye blocked him. “We want the court to set aside what they did because he was not heard,” he said.
“We are only trying to guess – is it because [Seguya] asked Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana to substitute Museveni, who is a dictator for 33 years?” he said.
“We are suing under the judicial review for court to review this decision. It was reached without fair hearing.”
The case comes less than a month after Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan women’s rights activist who branded Yoweri Museveni “a dirty, delinquent dictator” and “a pair of buttocks”, received an 18-month jail sentence for cyber harassment against the president. She was acquitted of a charge of offensive communication.
Don Wanyama, the senior press secretary to Museveni, said the president will only respond to Seguya’s lawsuit in court.
Kasingye said that commenting on the matter would be sub judice. He added that he would give his reasons for blocking Seguya in court, “when I go to defend myself”
But one of the two officials, Ofwono Opondo, who manages the president’s Twitter page, has explained his reasons for blocking Seguya.
“Yes I realized I blocked him (Seguya) for offensive communication, I block whoever directs offensive communication to me personally, and I have no apologies,” Opondo told the CNN.
He added the student could access government-related information on the internet without having to depend on Twitter posts.
But Seguya has argued that the block prevents him from giving feedback to the official account about government policies on Twitter.
Seguya wants the legal challenge to set a precedent in Uganda, just like it did in the United States, when, in July, a U.S. court stopped President Donald Trump from blocking Twitter users following a challenge brought forward by seven individuals
No date has been mentioned for the hearing of the case yet, but who will rule against Museveni in Uganda? But nothing is impossible.
In spite of laughter by Goliath, David responded that even though Goliath had a sword and spear, he came in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel. Hillary Innocent Taylor Seguya could be doing same, after-all David killed Goliath with a rock and sling