President Museveni Sued for Blocking Harvard Student on Twitter

August 29, 2019

A Harvard University student has taken matters to court after he was blocked by Uganda President Yoweri Museveni on Twitter.

Mr Hillary Innocent Seguya Taylor has also sued the police Chief Political Commissar Asan Kasingye and government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo, saying they too have blocked him from accessing their official Twitter accounts.

In the suit filed at the High Court in Kampala, Mr Seguya says he is a Ugandan citizen pursuing a Master’s degree in International Relations.

He argues that the President and the two officials use their Twitter accounts as public forums to disseminate information about activities of their state-mandated functions and to get feedback from citizens, and therefore blocking him is “illegal, improper and irrational”.

According to the complainant, as a citizen living in the diaspora, he is only able to access information relating to his country’s governance and to communicate with the respective officers through social media.

“Before being blocked, I used the same Twitter social media platform handles to communicate my views, dismays and suggestions to the respective officers,” Mr Seguya says.

Additionally, the Harvard learner says after being blocked, he was now unable to follow and see tweets on the respective accounts and therefore “not capable of contacting, replying, liking, tagging, retweeting and knowing the public information thereon or commenting on the same.”

Seguya adds that the blocking of his Twitter handle, @HillaryTaylorVI, from accessing the three handles on July 20, July 30 and August 8, was done without giving him notice.

The student wants the court to issue an order to be unblocked. He is also seeking general damages for the inconvenience caused.

Lawyer Male Mabirizi,  who filed the petition on Monday, said Seguya could have been blocked by the president after he referred to the head of state as “a dictator”.

In a post he made in April, Seguya told the Ghanaian president, Nana Akufo-Addo, that he would rather have him as president than Museveni.

“I wish we could exchange you for our Ugandan president dictator, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, who has been for 33 years,” said Seguya after Akufo-Addo made a presentation on Pan-Africanism to a group of students at Harvard University.

“We are telling him enough is enough. He has to go,” said the global youth ambassador.

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