[/blockquote]The copyright infringement drama between Africell Uganda and Artist Richard Kaweesa seem to be leading him to the coolers today. According to Arrest Injustice Facebook Page, on 20th of January at exactly 5:39pm, the “Ani akuba babie wange” singer received his first ever Africell written invitation to a meeting that was scheduled for 10am yesterday. The meeting was intended to find an amicable solution to the circumstances that led to his One-man’s music copyright protest on the steps of Africell. Lets have a small recap of the issue at hand, According to Richard, Africell infringed on his “Ani akuba babie wange” music rights and instead of responding to his request to settle the matter harmoniously, they instead resorted to claiming ownership of the song and ignoring his numerous communications.
Richard and his lawyers meet with Africell yesterday at the Africell headquarters. Africell was represented by Head of Human Resource, Head of Communication and Sponsorships and their lawyer. The COO/CEO Mr.Mohammad Gaddhar did not attend. Their demands from the telecom company were as follows;
- Copyright Infringement from February 2014, until Settlement.
- Compounded Monthly Interest for Delayed Payment on the same.
- False Claim of Music Rights by Africell.
- Emotional Stress associated with our Client having to stage a Protest in order to get any Response from Africell, and his subsequent Arrest.
- All Costs associated with the Settlement of the Above, from February 2014 until Settlement.”
Where as Africell doesn’t comment on the matter, Richard says that in the meeting it was very clear that Africell was not being forthright. He said:
In one breath they see where we are coming from with our demands for compensation and in another they are holding a sword of a police bond over my head and that of a journalist with whom I am being accused of CRIMINAL TRESPASS. So I ask them if they see the irony of inviting us for another round of discussions on a table with a dagger of a prison cell hanging on our heads. Well, for some reason they seem not to see the irony.
The Africell lawyer’s parting words revealed a lot when he said, “Do not worry about the police bond. We will ask police to extend it for you and the journalist by two weeks.”
Its Jail Time
On Monday 18th January, Richard together with a member of journalist of Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda, were ‘accused’ by Africell for criminal trespass during his One-man protest against Africell’s theft of his music. Him and the journalists were roughed up by Africell’s security and arrested because they took interest in his cause. Africell Uganda worked with Jinja Police station and arrested the dual and since it was a normal weekday, police had little option than to release them late that evening. They were however required to report to police this today. According to Richard, he said:
Individuals with means have found a ‘smart way’ of perpetuating injustice by collaborating with some corrupt police officers to use ‘Friday’ as a twisted means of imprisoning unsuspecting suspects over the weekend. They exploit people’s fear of prison as bargain chips that leave people poorer than they already are. When my mother or friends or relatives learn of my Friday detention at the police station, the fear of having their loved one spend three nights behind the filth of rusted prison bars compels them to find all the money they can raise in order to bribe corrupt police officers in exchange for a bond extension.
In is post he further says that he is privileged to hand himself over to prison today and demands NOT to be released from a physical PRISON CELL until AFRI-CELL and the like-minded are reminded that denying him his rightful means of livelihood and then turn around to extend his bondage for two weeks after arresting him a few days before is an economic prison cell that continues to not only disintegrate families but also destroy the incentive for increased productivity in our third world country.
The likens himself with the Uganda martyrs and explains that his spirit will not let the fear of being detained in an AFRICELL sponsored PRISON-CELL to detach him from the nobility of his belief in the urgency of arresting injustice.
After a long day at the Jinja Police station, Richard Kaweesa’s police bond was cancelled and he is now a free man, however the journalist’s bond was extended for two weeks. In a facebook post, the fading artist thanked the Uganda Police chief (OCID) for respecting his demand. Richard had demanded police to you either produce me in court for what Africell accuses as CRIMINAL TRESSPASS or you cancel the police bond as proof that he had a genuine cause for the One-man copyright injustice protest. And the Police officer chose to cancel the bond.
Well, in the end Africell has assured the OCID that a meeting to resolve this stand-off has been set for 10am on Monday the 25th day of January.
Image Credit: Arrest Injustice