Court

Gashumba loses copyright bid for ‘Jajja Tova Ku Main’ slogan as URSB rules in Namyalo’s favour

Hajjat Hadijah Namyalo (L) and other ONC officials during the official launch 'Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main' campaign in October 2022

Kampala, (UG): The Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) has dismissed a request by social media critic, Frank Gashumba to claim copyrights for the “Omalako Jajja Tova ku Main” slogan on grounds that he doesn’t have the evidence to prove his ownership and therefore loses all other patent rights surrounding it.

During an arbitrary session on Wednesday, October 18, in Kampala, the URSB Assistant Registrar of Copyright, Mr Birungi Denis dismissed the application filed by Gashumba’s application vide Registration No. UG/C/2023/89 after he failed to provide evidence that he originated the slogan.

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“The applicant has not adduced any evidence to prove that the copyright holder of that image authorized him before he made the adaptations, transformations or modifications. Consequently, he cannot claim copyright in the silhouette as doing so would constitute infringement,” Birungi’s statement read.

The Ass. Registrar further ruled that Gashumba was not even commissioned by Hajat Hadijah Namyalo Uzeiye, the manager of the office of the National Chairman at Kyambogo, to develop the disputed slogan.

“I take note of the fact that the disputed works are works of a political character. They are intended for the mobilization of the president and the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and have become synonymous with campaign messaging of the NRM  and its youth supporters,” the registrar’s ruling read.

ONC Boss, Hajjat Hadijah Namyalo (R) signs the banner during the official launch ‘Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main’ campaign in October 2022

Gashumba was also told that he is not the original author of the branding works he claimed ownership of since the office of the president (ONC) had already launched it by the time he joined.

Background to the case

Frank Gashumba filed an application to URSB on May 18, 2023, to register the slogan ‘Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main 2026’.

Disputing Gashumba’s claims, the ONC Boss Hajat Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo through her lawyers of Sebuufu Usaama and Stanley Kangye from K&K Advocates petitioned URSB to dismiss Gashumba’s ‘petty’ request on the grounds that she is the originator of the now-popular slogan, and consequently challenged the move to copyright it.

Namyalo further argued that the ONC team at Kyambogo came up with the slogan and that Gashumba, through his company Sarafina Events Ltd, approached her to participate in an awareness campaign for President Museveni’s presidential bid and offered to help with branding.

According to her, the ‘Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main’ slogan was officially launched on October 19th, 2022, at an event dubbed ‘Omalako Jajja Tova Ku Main’, held at ONC offices in Kyambogo.

The slogan, championed gained momentum in late 2022 and early this and is frequently used at several NRM party functions endorsing President Yoweri Museveni to extend his leadership as Uganda’s ruler beyond 2026.

Speaking to Gashumba after the grand ruling, the MK Movement disciple said that he was not satisfied with the ruling and that he will appeal to the High Court to overturn the ruling.

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