Singer, producer and music writer Richard Kawesa has challenged the presidential immunity enjoyed by President Museveni as the head of state for Uganda.
Article 98(4) of the Constitution of Uganda states that a president shall not be liable to any proceedings in any court while still in office.
Under this provision, a serving president is insulated from both civil and criminal proceedings, but he or she can be prosecuted for his or her actions after their presidency ends.
In a petition before the Constitutional Court in which Museveni is recorded as the respondent, Kawesa says the former being the president should be scrapped of his immunity to allow him be sued in private and personal capacity.
“In any case the presidential immunity is not absolute because a president can be a proper and necessary party to legal proceedings in the Supreme Court challenging presidential elections under article 104 of the Constitution where he is sued for his personal actions during elections,”Kawesa says in his petition.
The singer says since the president can be a complainant and witness in a criminal case, presidential immunity can therefore be removed during proceedings for removal of the president from office before a tribunal or medial board sanctioned under article 107 of the Constitution.
“Therefore, not all acts of the president are official presidential acts which are protected by presidential immunity.”
Last year, Richard Kaweesa wrote to President Museveni seeking for five billion shillings in compensation for copyright for using ‘Another Rap’ song during the 2011 presidential campaigns.
In an October 30, 2018 demand notice, Kawesa said he wrote and produced the song which later became popular as Museveni canvassed for votes and eventually won the 2011 polls partly riding on the song.
“This song also became a popular ringtone which obtained on all mobile telecommunication platforms and enhanced the top of the mind awareness of your brand to the Ugandan populace while making billions of shillings in royalty fees in the process,” said part of Kawesa’s demand notice through Muwema and Company Advocates also copied to the Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
In response, Museveni dismissed the claims saying he commissioned the making of the song making him the ultimate owner.
In a letter by his lawyers from KTA advocates, the President said the copyright of the song is registered under UG/C/2010/25 in his own names making him the legal copyright holder.
Kawesa was also told he could not drag Museveni to court because he enjoys immunity as the president of Uganda under article 98(4) of the Constitution.
In his latest petition to the Constitutional Court, the singer cum producer wants court to issue an order restraining Museveni from asserting claims to presidential immunity for his personal and private deeds or acts.
“The petitioner seeks for an order directing the High Court Commercial Division to investigate and determine the appropriate civil redress in respect to alleged copyright infringement in the ‘Another Rap’ song case.”