What you need to know:
- In a unanimous decision by 5 justices, it has been agreed that “section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act be scrapped for not only being vague or overly broad to define the actual offence committed.”
The Constitutional Court has nullified section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act which relates to using electronic devices to willfully disturb the peace of another.
The above section has been constituting a charge of offensive communication that was carrying a maximum penalty of 5 years upon conviction.
In a unanimous decision by 5 justices, it has been agreed that “section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act be scrapped for not only being vague or overly broad to define the actual offence committed.”
Court also ruled that the section “curtails inherent freedoms of speech and expression that are guaranteed in the Constitution.”
The panel led by Deputy Chief justice Richard Buteera further ruled that it would be unjustified to maintain this section of the Act in a free and Democratic society when Uganda covenanted to International treaties on freedoms and people’s rights.
Hence the court has declared section 25 as ambiguous and irrelevant and proceeded to award costs to the two petitioners including human rights activists Andrew Karamagi and Robert Shaka.
Reacting to the ruling, Kampala city lawyer Eron Kizza said: “I am very happy that the constitutional court unanimously agreed that law was unconstitutional, illegal, and ambiguous and therefore had to go because it hinders freedom of expression as it is written in section 29 of the constitution.”
The amendment to the Computer Misuse Act, signed into law by President Museveni in October, had been criticized by Amnesty International, which has called for the "draconian" legislation to be scrapped.