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Dr Atwine sues Mbonye over defamation in telltale book

COURT | The Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health, Dr Diana Atwine, has taken the bad fallout with former director-general of health services to court, seeking damages and injunctions for what she calls “defamation against her person.”

Crime24 understands Dr Atwine filed an affidavit with the High Court on Thursday, accusing Prof Mbonye of defaming her person in his tell-tale book titled, “Uganda’s Health Sector Through Turbulent Politics (1958-2018).”

In the 160-page book, published earlier this year, Prof Mbonye names Dr Jane Ruth Aceng, the health minister, Dr Atwine, and Dr Christine Ondoa, director of Uganda Aids Commission, as being the top health ministry officials “who thrive on intrigue.”

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He questions Dr Atwine’s qualification to head the top technocrat department in the Ministry of Health, and raised queries on her admission to a medical course at Mbarara University of Science and Technology, saying she wasn’t qualified for the intake.

“Astonishingly, Atwine became permanent secretary, an administrative post, without any training in administration nor experience in management,” Mbonye said in the revealing book.

But Dr Atwine, who confirmed suing her nemesis but declined to comment further on the matter that she said is in the hands of her lawyers, said the words in Mbonye’s book portrays her as a “novice and unprofessional” who doesn’t fit to be the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Health.

“The allegations in the book has been brought into hatred, ridicule and also suffered damages,” she says.

Although this news website has yet to see the affidavit, it is understood Dr Atwine is asking the court to issue a permanent injunction stopping Mbonye from further publishing defamatory words against her and that he should apologise to her.

Mbonye should also meet the costs of suits and damages. The High Court ordered Mbonye to defend himself within 15 days.

In February, Aristoc Booklex, one of the leading bookstores in the country, asked Prof Mbonye to collect his controversial book and sell elsewhere in what the medicines professor said was orchestrated by Dr Atwine.

“I received a call telling me to collect my books. They are now being sold at another outlet near Stanbic Bank, Garden City,” Mbonye said at the time.

And on Friday, he told Crime24 that he had yet to receive a legal notice Atwine and indicated he was not the least bothered and vowed to “expose her even more.”

“Did I break the law by publishing her results? She scored 12 points [in A Level examinations results] and they are very low scores for degrees like medicine. Now, that she has gone to court, we shall battle it out,” Mbonye said.

When the book came on the market in February, Atwine said it was the rant of a disgruntled man and refused to respond to the issues Mbonye was raising. She only addressed herself on Mbonye questioning how she joined Mbarara University.

“Did he (Mbonye) know what was the cut-off of point at that time? I know some people who scored lower points than I got,” Atwine said.

Prof Mbonye’s troubles with Dr Atwine, sources say, is deep-rooted from way back when she worked at State House as Health Unit Monitoring boss.

Atwine is said to have joined the clique that ‘fought’ against that in which Lucy Nakyobe, the State House comptroller, belonged. Nakyobe is Mbonye’s wife.

So when Atwine was posted to the Health ministry, the two continued the feud from State House.

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