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Man who sued WhatsApp admin for removing him from platform wins case

The court in Uganda’s Makindye division recently issued a directive to the administrator of a WhatsApp group, instructing them to restore the membership of a previously expelled member.

According to the Ugandan newspaper Daily Monitor, Baitwababo informed the court that the ‘Buyanja My Roots’ WhatsApp group, dedicated to their Buyanja sub-county, was established for the purpose of contributing to charitable causes, expressing condolences, and providing support to individuals within the area.

He further stated that each member was obligated to pay a membership fee of Sh.30,000.

The court’s directive came in response to an application filed by Herbert Baitwababo, who approached the court to contest his removal from the ‘Buyanja My Roots’ WhatsApp group by its administrator, Allan Asinguza.

“As members of the said WhatsApp group, we developed an idea of starting an association and agreed that one had to pay Sh.30,000 only to subscribe for the membership, and as such, I fully registered,” read part of Mr Baitwababo’s affidavit.

“All communication and matters concerning the association were conveyed through the WhatsApp group,” he added.

In his affidavit, Mr. Baitwababo stated that trouble began when he inquired with Asinguza regarding the procedures for managing the group’s affairs, including an audit report and financial accountability for the funds collected since the group’s establishment in 2017.

Following his removal from the WhatsApp group on May 17, 2023, the administrator’s action compelled Baitwababo to seek legal recourse.

In its ruling on Monday, the court not only ordered the administrator to reinstate Baitwababo but also issued an injunction prohibiting any future expulsion of Baitwababo from the ‘Buyanja My Roots’ WhatsApp group.

The court emphasized that such an act would infringe upon Baitwababo’s right and freedom of association.

“It is hereby ordered that the applicant be ordered back to the ‘Buyanja My Roots’ WhatsApp group.

“A permanent injunction is also issued restraining the respondent, his agents, or his assignees from further infringing on the applicant’s right of association,” the magistrate directed.

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