The Kampala City Lord Mayor, Erias Lukwago, has sued the Government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo seeking compensation of UGX500 million for assault and inhumane treatment on live TV.
Lukwago claims he was treated in a cruel, degrading, and inhumane manner during his appearance on a political show ‘Frontline’ on NBS television.
In his application before the High Court Civil Division, Lukwago contends that on 28th July 2022, he was physically attacked, manhandled, and battered by Ofwono while appearing on the Frontline as one of the panelists.
Lukwago says he suffered psychological torture, trauma, and physical pain when Ofwono, who is the director of the government-owned Uganda Media Centre charged at him and threatened to evict him from the studios before punching and kicking him in the chest and stomach.
“That the applicant as the Lord Mayor of Kampala and Advocate of the High Court of Uganda was subjected to ridicule, odium, and denigration by the action and conduct of the respondent/Ofwono,” says Lukwago in his application.
Lukwago claims that Ofwono threatened and pushed his hand into his pocket and around his waist in a manner that suggested that he wanted to draw a pistol at him.
“Thereafter, the Respondent pounced on my neck and attempted to strangle me, kicked me in the stomach, and grabbed my jacket as he pulled me from my chair,” says Lukwago.
Lukwago further contends that he maintained his cool and tried not to engage in a fist fight but concentrated on shielding his face with his palms.
He explains that it took the intervention of the moderator of the show Charles Mwanguhya, and other panelists Winnie Kiiza, the former leader of the opposition in parliament, and Chris Baryomunsi, the ICT Minister, to restrain Ofwono from further assault.
The evidence submitted to Court on flash disks shows that the show ended prematurely as Ofwono was shouting at the top of his voice that he was going to finish Lukwago in the corridors of the building as he called unknown people for reinforcement until NBS management put the Lord Mayor in some room to shield him from further attack and advised him not to leave without security.
Lukwago wants the Court to declare that the actions of Ofwono, while on air, lowered his reputation in the eyes of the right-thinking members of society and as the current Lord Mayor, High Court Advocate, Vice President Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), former MP, and former Shadow Attorney General in the 8th Parliament.
The Lord Mayor also wants the Court to order Ofwono to offer him a public apology.
The High Court is yet to summon Ofwono to file his defense before the case is allocated to a judge to fix its hearing.