Former Uganda Police chief Gen Kale Kayihura has declared a legal battle against The New Vision, a newspaper under the state-owned Vision Group over defamation.
Three months after President Yoweri Museveni replaced him with his hitherto deputy Martins Okoth Ochola, Kayihura was detained for two months at the Makindye Military barracks.
At the end of August, the General Court Martial would later charge Kayihura with failing to protect war materials, failing to supervise police officers and aiding kidnap.
Out on bail and seeking treatment, Kayihura has been disturbed by The New Vision‘s series linking him to the murder, in March 2017, of then police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
The military court did not charge Kayihura with the murder of Kaweesi, even when there was speculation the former Museveni blue-eyed boy would be linked to the Kulambiro murder.
And through his lawyers of Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), Kayihura has informed The New Vision of his intention to sue them.
Kayihura’s Demands in New Vision Defamation Case
Kayihura accuses The New Vision of publishing stories “riddled with publishing false, malicious and defamatory articles” with the intention of injuring his public image.
“You published allegations that you knew by then to have been false, fabricated and thoroughly discredited including the fake audio,” KAA lawyers have written to the state newspaper.
In one of the contentious stories published by the newspaper is titled, ‘Did Kayihura Kill Kaweesi?’
The story relies heavily on an audio in which witnesses reportedly link Kayihura to Kaweesi’s murder.
Kayihura’s lawyers say the audio was fabricated.
The general now wants the newspaper to stop the publication of what he terms as false and defamatory stories, to issue a public apology and to pay him Shs 300m for each of the controversial stories.
“Our instructions are to demand as compensatory, aggravated and general damages Shs 300 million for every story run in New Vision, Sunday Vision, Bukedde and all corresponding digital platforms, and further similar amount paid for the slander on Bukedde FM and New Vision TV,” Kayihura’s lawyers wrote to Vision Group.
“Our client has given us express and unequivocal instructions to demand that you unequivocally apologize to him in your newspapers for the deliberate, sustained and malicious campaign that you have engaged in.”
The lawyers argue that the social media platforms were used to further spread the defamatory statements among society’s right thinking members.
For example, the lawyers note that “Your [The New Vision] Twitter handle is followed by 462,000 people and this allegation which was put on Twitter was read by hundreds of thousands of people”.
Kayihura’s letter of intention to sue New Vision and other Vision Group outlets