A Democratic Party activist, Moses Bigirwa, claims he was charged with a case that is as old as Before Christ was born [BC].
Bigirwa who was released by court on Wednesday was remanded to Luzira prison last week for spreading false information saying government wanted to kill Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
An activist with the Uganda Young Democrats who subscribes to “People Power movement”, Bigirwa was arrested on Saturday December 29, 2018 after a radio talk programme on a local station in Bwaise, Kampala.
He is accused of spreading fake news on radio claiming NRM government planned to kill Bobi Wine during the fracas that ensued during the Arua by-elections.
Charge no longer in existence
On Wednesday, Law Development Centre [LDC] Magistrate Roselyn Nsenge ordered for his unconditional release saying he had been charged under a law that was repealed by the Supreme Court in 2002.
MP Asuman Basalirwa and DP’s Kenneth Paul Kakande who were defending Bigirwa asked the magistrate to close the case file while prosecution asked for an adjournment to January 28, 2019.
Speaking to media outside court, Bigirwa who has been in jail for close to two said the charge of publication of false news is fatally defective as it no longer exists in Uganda law books.
Video: #PeoplePower activist, Moses Bigirwa who has been in jail for close to 2 weeks addresses media after he was released by court on grounds that the charge of publication of false news is fatally defective as it no longer exists in #Uganda law books, #FakeNews #SoftPowerNews pic.twitter.com/srMHUfFRCw
— SoftPower News (@SoftPowerNews) January 9, 2019
“It was a doctored case. These are some of the cases which happened before Jesus Christ was born. These are some of the cases that were being used by some dictators like Benedicto Mussolini [Italy] and Adolf Hitler in Germany,” he noted.
Donning a red cap, Bigirwa said these are some of the cases which cannot be used to oppress citizens who want change in Uganda.
“We are going to fight it. I would like to thank the judiciary, at least for the first time, they have discovered the truth.”
Bigirwa’s release comes a day Uganda Communications Commission announced a hunt for a social media blogger Drake Lukunge Matovu accused of publishing and circulating fake news.
UCC accues Matovu of deliberately posting unverified content to misinform and mislead the public on his page “Media Vision Uganda”.
The regulator termed as computer misuse the act of creating, publishing and distributing fake news or stories.
Actions of releasing fake news may lead to possible inconvenience through denial of service under the Ugandan communicates act as well as prosecution, the regulator pointed out.
This development caused a social media backlash with Ugandans lashing at UCC for exposing the blogger’s National Identification Number [NIN] and claiming UCC was the “master of fake news”.