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Court quashes Shs 50m reward to national anthem composer

RIP: George William Kakoma

RIP: George William Kakoma

The Court of Appeal has quashed a decision to award Shs 50 million to the late Prof George Wilberforce Kakoma as loyalties for composing the Uganda national anthem.  

The award had been given to Kakoma in 2010 by High court judge Yorokamu Bamwiine, as his final settlement for the anthem; Oh Uganda, the Land of Beauty, which was selected as a winning composition by a committee which was seeking for a short, original, solemn and praising" anthem, as the nation obtained independence from Great Britain in 1962.  

The decision was based on a suit filed by Prof Kakoma who was seeking damages for the alleged violation of his copyright and sought a compensation of Shs 1 billion. In his suit, Kakoma claimed that the state owed him royalties each time the national anthem is recited and also sought an injunction to restrain the state from using his song.

During the initial hearing, Kakoma's lawyers argued that the composer received just Shs 2,000 from the government as an initial "token of appreciation" in 1963. Although the court disallowed Prof Kakoma's plea to be declared the lawful owner of the national anthem, justice Bamwiine granted him a payment of Shs 50 million which would attract an annual interest of 25 per cent until the government settled the payment.  

But Kakoma rejected the award saying that it was too little to cover the damages incurred for violation of his copyright for more than 40 years. He then went to the court of appeal seeking a compensation of about Shs 800 million instead. He died in 2012 before the case was disposed off.  

However, his widow Mary Teresa Kakoma continued pushing the case. The state through the then director for civil litigation Christine Kahwa and Charity Nabasa the state prosecutor opposed the appeal arguing that Kakoma had been paid for his work. The state lawyers, however, supported the 50 million award since it had been given due to the judge’s discretion.  

A panel of three justices Hellen Obura, Elizabeth Musoke and Fredrick Egonda-Ntende quashed the compensation award on grounds that it had no legal basis. The judges also ruled that Kakoma vested the copyright of the national anthem with the government and that the copyright enjoyed legal protection for 50 years which expired in 2012.  

But the judges added that by this expiration, the composition no longer enjoys copyright protection and can now be freely used in the public domain. The verdict was presented by Court of Appeal registrar Agnes Nkonge.

Kakoma's composition of the anthem is one of the three recognized national symbols. Its lyrics commit the future of the new nation in the hands of God, rallying citizens to stand for unity, freedom, liberty and togetherness. It talks about Uganda's love and living in peace and friendship with her neighbours.

It also praises Uganda's beauty, ability to feed her own from the fertile soils and the abundant sun, concluding with "The Pearl of Africa's Crown", a line first attributed by former British prime minister Winston Churchill who visited the then British territory in the early 20th century.


+2 #1 Odongkara 2019-07-16 16:03
To deny a Ugandan who has done the country mere 50m shs is the unfairness of the highest order.

What did those who received hundreds of millions as a presidential hand sake for the country other than their swollen pot bellies?

If anything fair Professor George should have been built a house, given a vehicle and domestic workers permanently if we're a grateful nation.

But since the dogs have invaded town or the town has visited the dogs we are not going to be surprised by such rulings. However Kakoma's legacy and name is cast in iron and stone into the anuls of Uganda history.

These judges will never add up and when their time to meet their creator comes they will be remembered for their stealing ways. RIP Professor George Kakoma.
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+1 #2 Lakwena 2019-07-16 16:40
In other words, RIP Prof George Wilberforce Kakoma.

In this world, whoever we are and whatever we have contributed or accomplished, acquired or grabbed in form of: power, land, titles, privileges, monies, and properties, we have to let go.

This is because, it is all vanity. Only the absolute fools would cling to such.
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0 #3 Akot 2019-07-16 20:12
Odongkara, agreed.

This is not the Uganda founded in 1962, with Ugandans in control, even when they didn't agree with one another, but lived freely!

Did Dr Obote teargas, harass, arrest, imprison, silence DP/KY leaders & supporters?

Ugandans made the biggest mistake by handing over their country fromed by their tribal lands to Museveni who is still being helped by our people to finalis conquest of the country & in such a peaceful way!

But, as UNITY is not what Ugandans want, they can form Independent Tribal States that will leave Musevnei with no legitimacy to stay on any tribal land in the country, especially not State House!

Migrants/refugees are enemies of "peace", all they know is create war situations, populate the world, bring with them their conflicts wherever!...
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0 #4 Akot 2019-07-16 20:17
...See how D. Trump is the enemy for saying NO to migrants flocking in USA saying it's thier rights to live in a peaceful country because their own countries are badly ruled by useless people/violence/drugs & crime!

Even migrants who found home in USA & elected in posts, are getting at D. Trump who is, by the way, fighting so that USA remains a real nation & not flooded with migrants, refugees!

The undocumented in France rise up in UNITY to demanding respect, legalisation of their situation as their rights, but they never talk about the countries they ran away from!

All the cry out is "we are humans, must be treated as such by USA/Europe, we need education, healthcare, housing" & they add "that's all"

But, each time a group is resettled, more build up immediately!...
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0 #5 Akot 2019-07-16 20:31
...Ah! Migrants & those at D. Trump's throat are not aware USA has 4 year presidential term, renewable only once & only when the incumbant fulfills campagin promises, which D. Trump is doing so well!

Museveni has disappointed Ugandans, destroyed their land, made Ugandans think of only having children & more than double a population of an already poor people, yet he will complete 35 years & will go on!

But UN gets at D. Trump & not at demons supplying USA-Europe with migrants, refugees that has distabilised & turned USA/European politics/social life upside down!

Ah! UN/EU resettle warring tribalists migrants/refugees who left their countries in a Uganda tribalistically divided & ruled because tribalists Ugandans are not at armed war,but only conquered & slave for master Museveni!

What will bringing down the tribalistic system & UNITY to show Museveni way out, cost Ugandans?
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0 #6 Akot 2019-07-16 20:45
Uganda has the most beautiful humane National Anthem, yet it's a conquered territory in which the people have no say, have no right to oppose, no right to listen to mp Bobi Wine sing!

Only Museveni has rights & Ugandans only have to listen, accept!

Where was Museveni when the National Anthem was composed, presented & accepted by Ugandans?

How can tribal leaders, those in posts not see they are used by Museveni to terrorise the very people they pretend to be part of & in a country formed by their tribal lands in which Museveni has non?

What Ugandans are doing to themselves to please Museveni, makes no sense, are Ugandans real humans with feelings, brains?

How can Ugandans get at one another to ensure migrant Museveni rules them for life & his son takes his palce after his death?

Is Museveni's Uganda potrayed in the National Anthem, UNITED...?
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-1 #7 Lysol 2019-07-16 21:22
If Kakoma did it out of patriotism, there should be no monetary rewards .

A real patriot would serve the country without expecting material gains. Unlike this corrupt regime which took over power for merely pure greeds as a way to get rich quickly and it's cronies.

Trump for example is only paid $1 a year. Because he was already rich when he got into politics, unlike most of those jokers( the MPs) who get into politics just to get rich. That is why the dictatorship can buy them out anytime so it can stay in power until death.

But some of us cannot be bought and will continue the fights/struggles at all fronts. . Never sell your soul to the devil!!! Next time will talk about what happened in Angola over the weekend meeting.
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0 #8 fkaramagi 2019-07-17 13:41
Yes. Court is right. He shoud not get 50m. He should get 500m.
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