In the case of Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu T/A Bobi Wine V Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Frank Mwesigwa & Attorney General Misc. Cause No. 313 Of 2017.
CORAM; HON. JUSTICE HELLEN WOLAYO, Judgement delivered on 10th May 2019.
This case was brought under Article 50 of the Constitution, which gives the High Court jurisdiction to determine human rights-related cases. In this case, the Applicant was banned from holding three music shows that he had planned following certain political statements that he had allegedly uttered. According to Frank Mwesigwa, the music shows were cancelled because the Applicant had earlier on 15th October 2017 held a show at One Love Beach Busabala where he uttered political statements, consulted members of the public out of his constituency and incited violence. His performances were banned, and police deployed by the 1st Respondent. The Applicant went to Court because the Respondents act of banning his shows amounted to a violation of his freedom of expression.
The Judge while hearing this case relied on several cases which explained freedom of expression and stated that what is material at this point is the absence of a nexus between the failure to perform at a music show and a violation of the freedom of expression. At any music show properly so-called, revellers are entertained by the performers through music, dance and drama. If a cancelled music show had been planned for purposes of entertainment only, its cancellation could not be construed as a violation of the freedom of expression of the performing artists who planned to perform at the show.
The Judge further stated the context in which a claim for contravention of freedom of expression can be brought, i.e. where a person has expressed particular views for which he is being prosecuted by the State or where he intends to express specific views but is arbitrarily prevented by the State.
The Applicant had the burden to prove that he had specific views which he wished to express at the music shows and that by stopping those shows his right to freedom of expression had been violated. In the instant case, there is no evidence that the music shows were to express specific views. The Judge, therefore, found that the Applicant has not established a nexus between the exercise of the freedom of expression and the music shows which would have provided a basis for a finding that his right to freedom of expression had been violated.