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Gen Kayihura to sue Vision Group, demand Shs300m for each story that he killed Kaweesi

Gen Kale Kahihura might be down but is not out and still commands the authority to threaten a legal suit against his 'tormentors.' And New Vision had better watched out, he has warned

LEGAL | Former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura has warned the New Vision newspaper to immediately cease publication of “defamatory stories” about him and apologise for those already run or face his wrath in court.

Gen Kayihura’s lawyers have warned the government-owned media empire that it will have to pay no less than Shs300 million in damages for each defamatory article previously published by its platforms; New Vision, Bukedde, The Kampala Sun and Bukedde radio and TV and Urban TV.

In a November 2 letter prepared by his lawyers, Kampala Associated Advocates (KAA), the embattled Gen Kayihura says he has taken note of deliberate and sustained campaign that is “riddled with publishing false, malicious and defamatory articles” against him.

Vision Group, the publishers of The New Vision daily, according to the lengthy letter, has accused or
insinuated that Kayihura is guilty of a number of heinous crimes and, in particular, of the brutal assassination of Felix Kaweesi in March last year.

“You have published these insinuations with malice and in full knowledge that the allegations are false,” the letter addressed to New Vision’s editor in chief, says,

The lawyers noted the October 9 story when the New Vision wrote that it has obtained a joint security report entitled,, “Report into the allegations of involvement of security personnel into the murder of late AIGP Andrew Kaweesi, his driver and bodyguard.”

New Vision, the lawyers say, reported that witnesses clearly stated how they had been coerced to accuse Gen Kayihura and fabricate evidence against him.

In the same article, the lawyers say that New Vision reported that even the audio recording (used to incriminate Kayihura) was proven to be fabricated. And the joint team of security agencies that was investigating the case arrived to the conclusion that it was “practically impossible for the audio data to be stored on the system for eight months” and further that there was evidence that “the audio was compromised.”

Kaweesi series

That notwithstanding, KAA says that New Vision has gone ahead to run a series of “malicious stories” against Kayihura “well knowing that the stories were false and thoroughly discredited.”

The lawyers cited an October 9, 2018 lead article under a screaming headline, “Did Kayihura Kill Kaweesi?” The story indicated that there was evidence, including a purported voice recording and the number of witnesses, which indicated that Kayihura was part of the plot to end Kaweesi’s life.

“You published allegations that you knew by then to have been false, fabricated and thoroughly discredited including the fake audio,” the letter reads in part.

Though they were still aware that the allegations were false, the New Vision ran another article, “Kayihura explains why Baroza scooped Kaweesi’s blood” which, according to KAA, alleged that Kayihura had recorded statement but this also not true.

“Our client has never recorded any statement in respect of the said allegations and that calim was
totally created by your newspaper,” the legal notice says.

KAA says that on June 18, 2018, the New Vision ran a false story under the headline, “Suspected Kaweesi guns traced to senior cop.”

To the lawyers, this insinuated that the murder weapons had been traced to their client and the story specifically stated that Kayihura had been subjected to intense grilling by the Chief of Defence Forces who had declined to answer any questions.

“The story alleged that previous investigations of the case had been stage-managed by our client,” the lawyers say. “This story was patently false and part of a deliberate misinformation campaign. You very well know that out client was not subjected to any grilling by the CDF.”

The New Vision is also accused of running an online campaign against Kayihura on its official and verified Twitter and Facebook accounts.

The tweets, the lawyers say were re-tweeted, shared and commented on several time over by what they term as “many right thinking members of the society.”

“Your Twitter handle is followed by 462,000 people and this allegation which was put on Twitter was read by hundreds of thousands of people,” the lawyers say.

“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,” KAA told Vision.

“Further, our instructions are to demand as compensatory, aggravated and general damages Shs300 million for every story run in New Vision, Sunday Vision, Bukedde and all corresponding digital platforms, further similar amount paid for the slander on Bukedde FM and New Vision TV.”

Kayihura, KAA says, has instructed them to inform New Vision that if these demands are not me in reasonable time and in any event not later than seven days from Friday, November 2, 2018, then he reserves the right to take legal action against the media house to its own “cost, peril and embarrassment.”

Charges could be dropped

Gen Kayihura’s notice to Vision Group comes after indications that the case he has is battling before General Court Martial is crumbling like pack of cards.

A former trusted lieutenant of President Museveni, Kayihura is being accused of failing to protect war materials contrary to section 122(1) (2) (d) of the UPDF Act 2005 according to the charge sheet prepared by the prosecutors at the military court.

It’s also the army’s case that Kayihura failed to supervise and ensure accountability for the arms and ammunitions issued to specialized units under his office as the Inspector General of Police, including the Flying Squad, Special Operations Unit, witness protection unit and the Crime Intelligence directorate of the police force.

Though it has been months since he was charged, the date for his trial hasn’t been stated, leaving doubts if he has a case.

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