KAMPALA – The President of Uganda Law Society, Mr Simon Peter Kinobe, has launched an impassioned defence of journalist Joseph Kabuleta who has been charged with annoying the president in his articles.
Mr Kabuleta was released on police bond last week following his arrest in the aftermath of publishing articles critical of President Museveni and the First Family.
But Mr Kinobe said the security agencies are misinterpreting clauses of the Computer Misuse Act.
“Annoying the President is a law being used by over-ambitious police officers. Part of the president’s duty is to be annoyed,” he said while appearing on NBS TV on Tuesday morning.
“But I also don’t think our President is petty to that extent of being annoyed. That section in the computer misuse act is unconstitutional. What that particular section takes away is fair comment. We already have laws regulating communication. These laws have what is permissible and what isn’t. Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act is a redundant law that isn’t necessary for a free democratic society. If the law can be manipulated to your advantage, it needs to be amended to curb these gaps,” Mr Kinobe added.
During his address on the progress of the Operation Wealth Creation tours, last Thursday, President Museveni said ‘annoying of the president’ is a colonial law he used to only hear about.
“I don’t mind being annoyed,” Mr Museveni said, adding that getting annoyed should not be treated as a big issue because for him as it happens every day but he has learnt how to deal with it personally.
Mr Kinobe on Tuesday also said Mr Kabuleta’s articles are fair comment. “Kabuleta’s post was fair comment. I don’t see anything wrong with his rant,” he said.
He also expressed concern over the continued threats against lawyers in the country following the shooting dead of Isaac Sendegeya, a lawyer based in Kisoro Town, at the weekend.
“The death of our member in Kisoro comes at a bad time because lawyers have been under excessive attack. We’ve seen lawyers being intimidated and threatened. As the legal fraternity, we mourn our colleague and need results from the investigations. Those who have taken to intimidating lawyers should desist from that because we’re officers of the law, our mandate is to make sure that justice is seen to be done. Members of the public and police shouldn’t see us as the enemy, we’re a vital element in society,” Mr Kinobe said.