Ugandan Activist Nyanzi Arrested, Charged With Cyber Harrassment

Stella Nyanzi criticised Janet Museveni, the wife of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni on Facebook after the government reneged on a campaign pledge to supply free sanitary pads to schoolgirls

Ugandan Activist Nyanzi Arrested, Charged With Cyber Harrassment

Makerere University's controversial lecturer, Stella Nyanzi, was arrested on Friday, April 14 after she took to social media to insult First Lady Janet Museveni.

In February, Nyanzi took to Facebook to collect donations of sanitary products for schoolgirls after the first lady said the government could not afford to supply them.

The central point of contention between Dr. Nyanzi and the Museveni household was the supposed negation by the regime of state responsibility to provide young Ugandan girls of primary and secondary age the basic necessities of life, such as menstrual period sanitary pads.

She pleaded not guilty to both counts and said President Yoweri Museveni is a "dishonourable" man who has "offended the people of Uganda".

I totally reject the idea that one can not, must not, ought not and should not criticize the people responsible for abusing the rights of Ugandans and resources of Uganda through thirty-one years of increasing despotic family rule.

Nyanzi is popular on Facebook for her relentless criticisms of Museveni, who has ruled since 1986.

Ugandan police have detained an academic who has been critical online of what she calls "despotic family rule" in this East African country.

Asked what happens if, indeed, Nyanzi is found to be mentally unstable, Nicholas Opio said, court might send her for treatment.

Many Ugandan girls are reported to drop out of school because of the shame they feel for lacking sanitary pads. However, she adds, there have been at least three cases of conviction involving people "who have attacked journalists".

However, Prisons authorities made a quick attempt to allay the lawyers' fears, insisting in a statement that although Nyanzi had been visited by a medical team, they were not there to assess her mental state.

In 2016 Nyanzi made regional and global headlines when she stripped nearly naked at Makerere University in protest at a disciplinary hearing against her by the University following a dispute with another staff member.

In a rare TV interview on 30 March, the First Lady said she had forgiven her, but Nyanzi was then arrested days later.

Many assumed that this was because of her comments about Mrs Museveni, although this was not mentioned in court.

She is expected back in court on April 25 after prosecutors requested for a mental examination.

"Dr. Nyanzi is within her constitutional rights and we are for an all-out legal battle with the state to defend her rights".

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