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Balaam and People Power: What is the deal?

A photo montage of Balaam and Bobi Wine. COURTESY PHOTO

Mr Balaam Barugahara, the proprietor of Balam Promotions, a marketing and promotions agency, has distanced himself from reports that he registered ‘People Power’ word, slogans, symbols and colours, which would bars other people from using them.

‘People Power’ is a rising political movement that brings together various political activists, politicians and civic players that campaign for a change in Uganda’s political leadership.

The movement has mainly been popularised by artist cum politician, Mr Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.

Some media outlets reported on Tuesday that Mr Barugahara had registered a non-profit organisation that would exclusively use the word, symbols, colours and slogans of ‘People Power’.

‘People Power’ crusaders mainly wear red attires while Mr Kyagulanyi, who represents Kyadondo East in Parliament, used a clock as a symbol for his campaign.

However, through Muwema & Co. Advocates, the music promoter denied the reports and demanded an apology from a one Andy Mukasa of Bajjo Events Limited, who allegedly circulated the reports on his Facebook page.

“The above allegations are not only false but they have also provoked hate campaign on social media laden with abuse and insults against our client, the notice of intention to sue, reads in part.

It reads: “For the record, our client has never registered the words or name ‘People Power’ and has no intention of registering these words at all”.

The notice instructs Mr Mukasa to retract the said post from his Facebook page and render an unconditional apology to Mr Barugahara on the same social media platform.
“Thirdly, that you pay our client within 5 days damages now estimated at Shs1 billion for the offensive data publication together with Shs50 billion being our legal fees,” the notice signed by Mr Fred Muwema, reads.

It’s copied to police and other security agencies in Uganda.

However, Balaam was seen in an interview with BBS TV seemingly defending his alleged decision to register People Power.

“According to the 1995 constitution, every Ugandan has a right to register any company in the registrar of companies. There are procedures that one should follow to register a company. One of them is to ask if an organization with a similar name has ever been registered. You can’t wake up and begin using a name and thinks it’s yours yet you have never registered it. If you have a phrase you want to use that would help your business even though it has been said by someone else, as long as no one has registered it, it’s not a crime for you to take it up,” Balaam said in an interview with BBS TV.

He said that there is a reason as to why he didn’t name his organization FDC or NRM.
“I can’t have registered FDC or NRM because they have been registered. So why do you think we should go with your beliefs that someone owns people power when it has never been registered?” he questioned before adding that, “Ugandans talk too much, it’s like they have nothing to do. Go sell samosas, grow avocados, cabbages but do not waste our time.”

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