The Observer (Kampala)

Uganda: Maama Fiina's Husband Sues Red Pepper Over Nude Photos

Hajji Ismail Ssekidde, the husband to renowned herbalist, Sylvia Namutebi aka Maama Fiina, has dragged Red Pepper and its Luganda sister publication Kamunye to court, accusing them of constantly publishing his wife's nude pictures.

Through his lawyer, Isaac Kimaze Ssemakadde of Web Advocates & Solicitors, Ssekidde filed the case in High Court yesterday, alleging among other things that the respondents' arbitrary act of giving unsought publicity in the tabloid newspapers and online publications of the sexuality of his wife infringed his human rights and freedoms protected by laws of Uganda.

Ssemakadde told us last evening that his client yesterday secured a temporary injunction banning the two tabloids from further publishing the nude photographs of his wife and related defamatory stories until the main suit is heard and disposed of.

"The applicant seeks a declaration that the information, photographs and other materials for the respondents' publications complained of in this application were gathered and disseminated without following proper journalistic ethics and standards and in contravention of the Press and Journalists Act, Cap. 105," the plaint reads in part.

In an affidavit accompanying the application, Ssekidde describes himself as a businessman in Ndeeba as well as husband of Namutebi with whom he is blessed with ten children - six of whom are minors.

Ssekidde, who wants Shs 20bn compensation among other things, alleges that his family was at the beginning of July 2012 troubled by "rogue journalists" who threatened to publish the photograph of his wife in the nude. He alleges they acted on their threats on September 13, 2012.

"The photographs and articles in question concern my wife in uncovered and relaxed position in what clearly is a private setting - a bed room - where peeping Toms, snoops and voyeurs should not be... the photographs were published to harass and embarrass my wife and destabilize our marriage," Ssekidde states.

He says the photographs and articles in question are highly unpleasant not only to the couple but also their children, family, friends and relatives. Ssekidde says he is aware that his wife is not ashamed or embarrassed by her sexuality, but it is private and that publication of the said photos has suddenly killed the peace and harmony that they have tirelessly built over the years.

"The applicant shall also prove that the respondents threaten and intend to continue publishing the photographs and articles complained of in the forthcoming issues of their tabloid newspapers unless they are restricted from doing so by this honourable court," the plaint adds.

Besides compensation, Ssekidde also wants the tabloids to not only disclose their source of the photographs but also destroy them all.

"The Applicant also seeks an order directing the Media Council and the Broadcasting Council to take swift and severe disciplinary action against the aforesaid persons," the plaint goes on.

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