Harvard student seeks Sh164m from Museveni for blocking him on Twitter

A Harvard University student is seeking Sh164 million (Ushs6 billion) as damages from President Yoweri Museveni for allegedly being blocked by the Ugandan leader on his Twitter handle.

In August 2019, Hillary Innocent Seguya Taylor sued president Museveni alongside government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo and the police’s Chief Political Commissar AIGP Asan Kasingye whom he also accused of blocking him from accessing their Twitter accounts. The case was filed in Uganda.

Sseguya, who is pursuing a master’s degree in International Relations at the US based-institution, said the move violated his right to access information about his country.

The student argued that being blocked had prevented him from giving feedback to the officials’ accounts about government policies on Twitter.

He added that Twitter was his only way to know what was happening back in Uganda.

Museveni Uganda II - Harvard student seeks Sh164m from Museveni for blocking him on Twitter
Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni addresses the nation at State House in Entebbe, Uganda in this photo taken on September 9, 2018. AFP PHOTO

“The President’s tweet has first-hand information about the country, and as a Ugandan living in the Diaspora, I am missing out on that information which is imperative to me. His actions have violated my right of freedom of speech, and he must unblock me,” Sseguya told CNN.

The court also heard that President Donald Trump, who had blocked some people on his Twitter account on grounds of privacy, was ordered by a court to unblock them.

In the case, a federal judge in New York City in 2018 ruled that President Trump blocking people from his twitter was unconstitutional.

Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald, looking at how the Constitution applies to social media platforms and public officials, found that the president’s Twitter feed is a public forum.

As a result, she ruled that when Mr Trump or an aide blocked seven plaintiffs from viewing and replying to his posts, he violated the First Amendment.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is a part of the United States Bill of Rights that protects freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, and right to petition.

According to Seguya’s post on his Facebook, the defendants asked for two weeks to file written submissions.

He added the ruling has been fixed for May 20, 2020 at 9am.

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