Ugandan seasoned journalist and political analyst, Andrew Mwenda has been dragged to court over his allegations about the identities of people running a pseudo blog, facebook account in the names Tom Voltaire Okwalinga (TVO).
Mwenda in his January 29th facebook post named three people including Henry Lugasira (lives in Uganda), Robert Shaka (lives in Canada) and Abbey Semuwemba, who lives in UK as the people operating the account which capitalizes on criticizing the NRM government and all its structures.
“I know who writes to them, who gives them info (even when given physically including location – like the Kale Kayihura tapes that leaked) and where this has happened. I also know their links with Kizza Besigye personally and elements of FDC generally,” Mwenda’s facebook post reads in part.
“You do not need to be a rocket scientist to establish the identity of persons behind TVO. For example, four twitter accounts were opened using one email address firstname.lastname@example.org – that of Henry Rugasira (now living in Uganda), Robert Shaka (now a dissident in the USA), Tom V Okwalinga and TVOUganda. Shaka and Rugasira are brothers,” the post further reads.
Robert Shaka, one of the people named; through his lawayers of MS Odokel Opolot and company advocates has since run to court accusing Mwenda of defamation and causing malicious damage to his reputation.
Mr Shaka demanded that Mwenda pulls down the Facebook post, writes an apology in a newspaper of wide circulation and pays him 300million shillings in damages as well as the lawyers’ fees, or they’d meet in court.
“Without any incline of truth or justification, you maliciously, unlawfully and illegally mentioned our client’s name to be among people behind TVO. You defamed our client and in particular, you referred to him as radical extremist and demented psychopathic maniac,” read a letter from Shaka’s lawyers.
They further claimed that Mwenda’s publication and description of Mr Shaka caused “public scandal, public odium, shame, contempt, hatred, mistrust and ridicule both locally and internationally,” calling for a public apology.
In his response, Andrew Mwenda says Mr Shaka and his colleagues “cannot stand by who they are and defend their beliefs in their own name. So they use pseudo names on social media.”
“After exposing his true identity on this page, he cannot look himself in the mirror and admit that he is TVO, the demented psychopathic maniac on Facebook. So he has run to lawyers to save him from his own shame,” Mwenda wrote on facebook.
TVO’s identity remains unknown internationally and the Irish High Court on Wednesday allowed Facebook to keep his identity concealed for fear of harassment by the Ugandan government which he opposes and criticizes.