Anybody is free today to use the ‘People Power’ slogan without any legal impediment, Jude Mbabaali, an advocate and commissioner of oaths has said.
Mbabaali’s submissions follows news that events promoter Balaam Barugahara has reportedly registered ‘People Power’ as an organisation that will support the elderly.
The news caused an uproar on social media as Bobi Wine fans criticised Balaam.
‘People Power’ is a slogan that has been popularized by the musician turned politician.
Now Mbabaali says upon checking, what was registered is ‘People Power Initiative’ and not ‘People Power,’ the movement that has become very popular especially amongst the youth and those opposed to the current regime.
In law, the two are different, Mbabaali says.
“This above is what he (Balaam) is reported to have registered, it looks to be a name of a company because it ends with the word ‘Ltd’ which can be turned into an NGO or trading company or charity company,” Mbabaali says.
“The two are differing in the wording so are different and in law that is acceptable unless if the two are going to be used in same area – say both are NGOs for women or are trading companies -and it is found out that the said wording would confuse the customers or clients. But we know that Bobi Wine uses the wordings ‘People Power’ as a slogan.”
The lawyer adds that if the said slogan was for trading or business purposes, Bobi Wine would register it as soon as he can for commercial purposes at Uganda Registration Services Bureau.
“But since he uses it as political slogan, if he wishes to protect it from use by political competitors, he can register it at the Electoral Commission as part of his party’s slogan in case he chooses to form a party,” he says.
‘People Power, Our Power’ has gained traction ever since Bobi Wine started chanting it in 2017 during the Kyadondo East by-elections.
It is partly derived from the constitution of Uganda which states that, “All power belongs to the people who shall exercise their sovereignty in accordance with this Constitution.”
However, it is also attributed to Egyptian activist Wael Ghonim who during the Arab Uprising famously said “The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power.”
After Bobi Wine swept Kyadondo East, he helped opposition candidates win by-elections in Jinja, Bugiri and Arua municipalities.
He has previously said People Power is neither a political party nor political organisation.
“We’re aware that the state is so scared of the people who come together regardless of their political affiliations, regardless of tribe or religion but people who envision an idea of having power back in their hands. And I want to emphasise that every Ugandan has equal stake in the idea of people power,” he is quoted as saying of the People Power movement.