Stella Nyanzi, a Ugandan academic and activist has been in jail since November 2, 2018, when she was detained for allegedly insulting President Yoweri Museveni and his late mother, Esteri Kokundeka, in a poem posted on Facebook.
According to Ugandan media outlets, the feminist activist and Museveni critic has been in and out of court ever since and her last hearing was on May 17, 2019, which equally suffered an adjournment.
Police CID spokesperson, Superintendent of Police Vincent Ssekatte told local media that she insulted the president’s mother on September 16 and she’s facing offensive communication and cyber harassment charges.
According the court papers, Nyanzi is being tried for violating the Computer Misuse Act sections on cyber harassment and “obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent” content production.
She was arrested on November 2 at the Makerere University during a march to the Institute of Social Research (MISR) where she worked as a research fellow before her suspension last year.
If found guilty, she faces a one-year prison sentence if convicted under 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.”
In April 2017, she was arrested for using abusive words against the president and first lady.
She called President Museveni “a pair of buttocks” and insulted the First Lady Janet Museveni who she described as incompetent in her role as minister of education.
While in prison, Nyanzi wrote to her friend: “Writing is a weapon … We shall fight their bullets and bribes with our prose and poetry. We shall defend ourselves with our pens and keyboards.”