Fort Portal, 14th/June/2012; The High Court in Fort Portal has adjourned a case in which Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC) sued government for malicious prosecution and false imprisonment. The suit was filed in November 2009.TLC sued the Attorney General for malicious prosecution and in relation to the 2008 arrest and trial of six TLC members, who were subsequently acquitted in September 2009.
The members including Prosper Businge, William Gonza, Gerald Kankya, Joram Bintamanya, Stephen Rwagweri and Daniel Rubonbora were charged with six counts of incitement to violence and criminal libel against the incumbent MP of Fort Portal municipality Steven Kaliba, the Kabarole NRM (ruling party) district chairperson Godfrey Nyakahuma and Reverend Richard Baguma who they accused of masterminding the burning of Life F.M radio transmitter.
The prosecution had alleged that the six and others still at large between November 2007 and February 2008 at Balya Road, Fort Portal Municipality in Kabarole District while in the studios of 93.8 Life FM Radio during the Ensonga Hansoga program and Twerwaneho program incited the listeners to commit threats of violence; assault or injury against Kaliba, Nyakahuma and Reverend Baguma, adding that the six had also masterminded and participated in the burning of Life FM Transmitter with intent to defame the trio.
TLC (Lets Struggle for Our selves) is a civil society organization based in Fort Portal that sensitizes locals in the Rwenzori sub-region in Western Uganda on human rights and fundamental freedoms through radio talk-shows and community outreach programmes. Its Programme Coordinator Gerald Kankya is the 2011 winner of the inaugural European Union Human Rights defenders award.
This case has been pending at the High Court since 2009; it was scheduled for 13th October 2010, but was adjourned to 2nd November 2010. It has been further adjourned to 23rd October 2012 on prayers of the Attorney General to have more time to study the file and also respond to the suit.
“Article 29 of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda guarantees freedoms of speech and expression, assembly and association, among others. So HRNJ-Uganda commends all efforts by this organization in the protection and promotion of human rights and freedoms. The people of Tooro region deserve to be empowered to freely express themselves on issues affecting them. It is our prayer that the civil suit by Twerwaneho Listeners Club is expeditiously handled so as to deliver justice to the victims. This will go a long way in ending the misuse of the court system in silencing fundamental rights and freedoms of Ugandans.” Said HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.