Registrar Requests Evidence for Ownership of Controversial Political Slogan ‘Omalako Jaja Tova Ku main’

The Registrar of Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB), Ronald Lutunde, has called upon three claimants of the political slogan ‘Omalako Jaja Tova Kumain’ to provide evidence substantiating their claims. 

The claimants include social media critic Frank Gashumba, Lwengo District LC V Chairperson, and the NRM Youth League Vice President Ibrahim Kitatta and Hadija Namyalo Uzeiye, the head of the Office of the NRM Chairperson.

The slogan gained popularity in late 2022 and is often used at NRM functions and events where President Yoweri Museveni has been endorsed to extend 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 their allied parties, with different individuals claiming its creation. The process began in May 2023 when Frank Gashumba, a social and political commentator, applied for registration at the Uganda Registration Services.

In his application, Gashumba stated that he created the slogan on May 16th, 2023, upon the request of Hadijah Uzeiye Namyalo, the Head of the Office of the NRM National Chairman (ONC).

Subsequently, URSB published a notice of registration on May 23rd, 2023, inviting objections from the public within a 60-day period.

Hadijah Namyalo promptly objected to Gashumba’s application, asserting her ownership claim in a letter to the Registrar of Copyright dated June 5th, 2023. She claimed to have officially started using the slogan on October 19th, 2022, during the launch of a bid urging President Museveni to run for the presidency in 2026.

On June 26th, 2023, Ibrahim Kitatta, through his lawyers, also filed documents objecting to both Namyalo and Gashumba’s claims. Kitatta stated that he originated the slogan, launching it on October 17th, 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 27th, 2023 and that the URSB issued a notice of application on February 13th, 2023. The notice was gazetted on February 24th, 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 being 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.

All three claimants appeared before the URSB tribunal on Monday, accompanied by their lawyers. After a closed-door session that lasted approximately three hours, the parties informed the media that they were asked to submit evidence to establish their original ownership of the disputed slogan before demanding copyright over it. They have until September 12th, 2023, to submit their evidence.

Frank Gashumba presented several designs of t-shirts, showcasing the evolution of the slogan and claiming to have printed over 80,000 of them. He expressed disappointment at seeing his idea being used by unknown individuals for printing and distribution.

Recently, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the first son of President Museveni, 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 it.

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