Former Minister of Ethics and Integrity Miria Matembe is known for her cantankerous and no holds-barred approach to public debate but she seems to have touched a wrong nerve and found her match. Eagle Online can exclusively report that Matembe has, acting through her lawyers of Newmark Advocates, written to Kamya asking for peace talks and an out of court settlement.
On May 9, 2022, Matembe’s lawyers wrote to M/S Anguria & Co. Advocates, “our client has taken note of the subject suit against her for the alleged defamation of the Plaintiff. Our client is well aware of the position the two parties hold in the public especially being role models to women and girls in Uganda.”
The letter adds that in the interest of, “protecting and saving the image and resources of the two parties, our client has advised and believes that the issues raised in the subject suit can be handled and resolved in an in-house women’s manner.” Matembe then proposed a meeting to resolve the matter out of court.
On May 18, 2022, the IGG’s lawyers wrote back, “Please advise with exactitude, the specific terms that your client proposes,” adding, “on a more serious note however, please advise your client to desist from continuing with her malicious and defamatory campaign of misinformation and disinformation against our client and undermining the authority of the High Court by making public statements that defeat the spirit and essence of what she proposes in your letter.”
Kamya’s lawyers have now threatened to institute contempt of court proceedings against Matembe if she continues making prejudicial statements. This means that Matembe may follow lawyer Male Mabirizi in prison for contempt of court.
It was earlier reported in the media that Matembe, while addressing a conference at the launch of former presidential candidate Joseph Kabuleta’s new political formation, had bragged that she was not deterred by court and was going to ignore whatever is happening in the Kamya case and continue speaking her mind. She also said, according to press reports, that no one can use courts to intimidate or gag her because God gave her a mouth to talk.
As she was putting a strong face in public and speaking tough, secretly, Matembe was pressing the ‘save our souls’ button, pleading for peace talks and ceasefire.
When contacted, Anguria & Co. Advocates directed our reporter to Mr. Ivan Okuda, who is ‘counsel in personal conduct’ of the file. Asked how far the process of the peace talks had reached, Mr. Okuda replied in an email, “It is not our habit as professionals to discuss clients’ matters in the press. Litigation happens between the boardroom and court room not the newsrooms or social media so let’s leave court matters to court. I respectfully so submit.”
Recently, the Inspector General of Government (IGG) Beti Kamya dragged Matembe to the High Court in a defamation suit where the ex-minister of Kampala Capital City Authority and the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development is demanding for Uganda Shillings one billion in compensation for what she says were “false, malicious and defamatory utterances” made by Matembe on NBS TV and NTV (Uganda).
The Deputy Registrar of the High Court’s Civil Division on February 21, 2022 ordered Matembe to file her defence, which she did. Shortly after, Kamya filed in court an application for an interim and temporary injunction where she is asking court to bar Matembe from continuing with what she describes as a malicious disinformation and misinformation campaign against her.
Matembe finds herself alone and frightened, left in a corner of bother to fight alone after Next Media Services, which had received a notice of intention to sue from Kamya admitted liability and asked to settle the matter out of court. Indeed, NBS’ CEO Mr. Kin Kariisa met Kamya’s lawyer Ivan Okuda and the matter was put to rest.
In the same vein, NTV (Uganda)’s lawyers also advised the Nation Media Group subsidiary that a court battle with Kamya would be futile considering the gravity of claims that Matembe made which they could not approve in court. Again, NTV officially engaged Kamya’s lawyers and apologised to the IGG and hammered an out of court settlement. With the two giants opting not to waste time in court arguing in an ill-fated defamation law suit, Matembe is now left with egg on the face, after the media houses that would have swung their resources to support her left her abandoned and lonely.
Matembe will, in mid-June, defend herself in court on the application for an injunction that Kamya filed.