Ugandan activist, Academic and Critic of President Museveni, Dr. Stella Nyanzi was arrested a week ago and has been denied bail for insulting the President's mother in a Facebook post. Is this an abuse of her Freedom of Speech?
Popular Ugandan Human Rights Activist and former Researcher at the Law, Gender & Sexuality Research Project, Makerere University Institute of Social Research, Dr Stella Nyanzi, a renowned critic of President Yoweri Museveni - who has ruled the country since 1986, is currently in detention and has been denied bail for insulting Esteri Kokundeka, the late mother of President Museveni in a recent Facebook post.
She was arrested on November 2nd, 2018 during a peaceful protest march to the offices of the Institute of Social Research (MISR) in demand for her salary arrears and reinstatement back into the Makerere University as instructed by a tribunal last month which was set up to investigate her dismissal. Unknown to her, the government had other plans for her for what it termed 'offensive communication and cyber harassment charges'.
Speaking to local media, the spokesperson of Police CID, Superintendent of Police Vincent Ssekatte said Dr Stella Nyanzi was arrested for a Facebook post she made on September 16 which insults the late mother of the president.
He said she is been charged for harassing the president and will remain in Luzira Prison until November 9 without option of bail when a plea for her case will come up.
The police chief made said the police was acting within the provision of the law as provided by the Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 on offensive communication which states that:
“Any person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanour and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty-four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.”
The news have continued to gain attention with many critics claiming that the arrest is a clear indication that the president does not respect fundamental human rights and was using the provision of law to fight personal battles.
Dr Stella Nyanzi has been a strong critic of President Yoweri Museveni and is popular for her comments where she called the president "a pair of buttocks".
This is not the first time she will be put behind bars for 'harassing the president with a computer'; she was arrested on April 7, 2017 and remanded in prison for the same crime.
The government has often claimed that Dr. Nyanzi is battling a mental disorder, and subjected her to a psychiatric test in 2017; so it is a matter of worry why time and resources is been wasted continuously in arresting and re-arresting someone believed to have a mental issue, especially if her crime is 'insulting the president on social media.'
We can only wait until November 9 to hear the outcome of the case.
Image Source: Sqoop
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