Government appeals sedition ruling

Friday August 27 2010

By Sheila Naturinda

The government is to appeal against the Wednesday Constitutional Court ruling on the law of sedition. Information and National Guidance Minister Kabakumba Masiko said yesterday that the Attorney General was not satisfied with the ruling “because the ruling seems to focus on the acceptability of criticising the person of the president as a politician, and doesn’t address other areas.”

Five judges of the Constitutional Court led by Deputy Chief Justice Letitia Kikonyogo unanimously agreed that the existence of sedition in the Penal Code is unconstitutional as it infringes on the freedom of speech and expression of Ugandans.

5-year wait
The judgment followed a petition by the East African Media Institute and Mr Andrew Mwenda in 2005 when he was arrested over statements he made while political editor at Daily Monitor and host of Andrew Mwenda Live programme on KFM Radio.

Mr Mwenda was accused of inciting public hatred towards the person of the President when he said, during the programme, that the government of Uganda was partly responsible for the death of former President of South Sudan John Garang.

She also said because the issues presented to court were those of law and not of fact, the Attorney General thinks court erred in their judgment. Ms Masiko said the same law is found in leading democracies like the US.