Ugandan activist and Museveni critic Dr. Stella Nyanzi was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison on 9th May 2019. The fearless Ugandan activist is accused of cyber harassment and offensive communication. she posted a poem on Facebook on September 16th, 2018. The post came a day after the Ugandan president Yoweri Kaguta Museveni celebrated his 74th birthday.
In the publication, Dr. Nyanzi condemns the president’s long rule, stating that Uganda would have been better off if he had died in childbirth.
Ugandan activist explicit poem
In her poem, she expresses her disgust for the president. She vividly describes her utmost dislike to Museveni wishing all sorts of unimaginable things upon him. In one stanza she deploys “deep-seated vulgarity”, she writes
“Yoweri, they say that it was your birthday yesterday.
How nauseatingly disgusting a day!
I wish the acidic pus flooding Esiteri’s cursed vaginal canal had burnt up your unborn fetus.
Burnt you up as badly as you have corroded all morality and professionalism out of our public institutions in Uganda”
The prosecution claims that the poem disturbed the peace and privacy of the president.
The court case
The Ugandan academic and activist finally got into court after a long wait due to postponements on her case on 19th May 2019. However, she appealed against the conviction and sentence terming it unfair. saying that the court made an error in law.
Judge Henry Peter Adonyo heard her appeal. On Thursday 20th February 2020 ordered for her immediate release from prison. She had just served 8 months before the release order was made.
Dr. Nyanzi’s ensuing trial has been making headlines in Uganda. Last year June her lawyers argued that the activist had no case to answer.
They said,” A writer has a job to tell the people what it doesn’t know and Nyanzi did exactly that”. Only that she executed hers in radical rudeness but sometimes that is how literary scholars pass their message.
Disorder in court
The frenzy was caused by her supporters just outside the court compound. Her supporters got into an exchange with prison officials as they were escorting her out to go and sign her release forms. one of the supporters was quoted to say “It was the police that started the chaos”. They had gone to receive Nyanzi but they were provoked to act that way.
After the judge’s verdict, Nyanzi questioned the reasons why she had been arrested before she fainted. She asks,”Why was i imprisoned? “Is it because I wrote a poem?” The poem expressed her disgust with the National Resistance Movement (NRM) regime.
Nyanzi was seen to blow kisses and even flashed the middle finger immediately after the verdict. We can say that there is no way her spirit can be put down.
Being a tough feminist, she will not let anything bring her down, not even a prison conviction. Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental human rights but there is somewhere you have to draw the line especially when it interferes with other people’s privacy.