In Reference No. 16 of 2014, which was still pending hearing in the Trial Court, the Applicant (Ronald Ssembuusi now deceased) sought a declaration that Uganda’s criminal defamation law in Sections 179 and 180 of the Penal Code, Cap 120 was an affront to the Fundamental and Operational Principles of the EAC. Subsequently, the Respondents lodged an Application seeking leave to act as amici curiae on the grounds that they had a strong and genuine commitment to promoting respect for and observance of the right of freedom of expression, including freedom of the press and they should therefore be allowed to make submissions in the Reference. The Application was supported by the affidavit of Yakoré-Oulé Jansen. The Appellant, who was the Respondent in the Application, raised a preliminary objection claiming that the affidavit supporting the application was incompetent, based on hearsay and did not disclose the source of information contained therein. In its Ruling of 28th June 2015, the Trial Court only addressed itself to the merits of the Application and not to the preliminary objection, it then granted the orders sought.
On appeal, the Appellant averred that the Trial Court erred in law and procedurally by failing to find that the Respondent’s Affidavit in support of the Application was incurably defective and therefore incompetent. Furthermore, the Trial Court, ignored the issue of the competence or otherwise of the Application and that this amounted to a procedural irregularity leading “to a miscarriage of justice so the impugned Ruling should be nullified as the Trial Court committed an irreversible procedural error.