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URSB to rule on 'Jajja Tova Ku Main' slogan as Gashumba, Kitatta claim ownership

Museveni at a URSB event recently

Museveni at a URSB event recently

The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has set October 19, 2023, as the date to deliver its decision in a case where three individuals are claiming ownership of the 'Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main' political slogan.

The claimants are social media critic Frank Gashumba, Lwengo district LC V chairperson, and the NRM Youth League vice president, Ibrahim Kitatta along with Hadija Namyalo Uzeiye, head of Office of the NRM chairperson.

URSB set the date during a hearing on Tuesday evening, where the involved parties presented facts of the case before the registrar and agreed on the legal issues requiring determination. The primary issue raised by the parties is the rightful authorship of the slogan and the available remedies for each party. The parties have been directed to submit written arguments, along with timelines, explaining why the court should rule in their favor. 

URSB registrar Ronald Lutunde instructed them to await the decision, which will be delivered via their respective email addresses on October 19. Gashumba was represented by his lawyer Blaire Ntambi, while Kitatta was represented by lawyer Doreen Nakyonyi, and Namyalo was represented by Usama Sebuwufu.

The 'Tova Ku Main' slogan gained popularity in late 2022 and is frequently used at NRM functions and events where President Yoweri Museveni has been endorsed for extending his rule beyond 2026. The complete version of the slogan is 'Omalako Jajja Tova Ku main; Tova Ku Ballot' ('You're fit, Grandpa; Don't leave the main track, stay on the ballot'): We command you to stand again in 2026 and Beyond, Bazzukulu ba Museveni.'

However, the slogan has sparked a dispute among NRM supporters and allied parties, with different individuals claiming its originality. The dispute began in May 2023 when Gashumba, a social and political commentator, applied for its registration with the URSB. In his application, Gashumba claimed to have created the slogan on May 16, 2023, at the request of Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo.

Subsequently, URSB published a notice of registration on May 23, 2023, inviting objections from the public within a 60-day period. Namyalo promptly objected to Gashumba's application, asserting her ownership claim in a letter to the registrar of copyright dated June 5. She claimed to have officially started using the slogan on October 19, 2022, during the launch of a bid urging President Museveni to run for the presidency in 2026.

On June 26, 2023, Kitatta, through his lawyers, also filed documents objecting to both Namyalo and Gashumba's claims. Kitatta stated that he originated the slogan and launched it on October 17, 2022, at Zebra hotel in Masaka city, two days prior to Namyalo's use.

Kitatta further mentioned that he applied for copyright protection on January 27, 2023, and that URSB issued a notice of application on February 13, 2023. The notice was gazetted on February 24, 2023, under General Notice number 476 of 2023.

"...whereupon no objection was raised against my application by the applicant and Hajjat Hadija Uzeiye Namyalo within the required sixty days, whereas they were fully aware of the Gazette Notice since they are responsible citizens of Uganda. After you are fully satisfied that I have provided all the necessary information and followed the due process of law, you rightly registered me as the author or owner or holder of the copyright in respect of Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main and Consequently on 4th May 2023 issued me with a certificate of registration No.6 of 2023 as proof of my registration," says Kitatta in his letter of objection.

He attached a copy of the Uganda Gazette and a certificate from URSB as evidence supporting his claim. Recently, the first son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba tweeted dismissing the slogan as unrelated to his family and associating it with gangsters. While the slogan has generated different interests, President Museveni has not made any public statements in support or against the same.

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