Uganda| Academic Charged to Court for Referring to President Museveni as a "Pair of Buttocks"

A Ugandan academic, Stella Nyanzi was officially charged in court today for referring to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks” in a Facebook post. It is alleged that her online comments contravened the 2011 Computer Misuse Act and that she engaged in “cyber harassment” and “offensive communication”.

Nyanzi was arrested on the night of 7th April by unknown state agents. This was after she had claimed through a facebook post on the 3rd of April that armed individuals were trailing her sister's car. Her home was also raided by armed men, intimidating her domestic employee and three children.
The academic's travails commenced when she criticized a statement made by the Education Minister cum First Lady, Janet Museveni.
Museveni  had told parliament that the government lacks the funds to fulfil her husband, President Yoweri Museveni’s electoral pledge of providing free sanitary pads to school girls.
Nyanzi responded angrily to the development, writing: “What sort of mother allows her daughters to keep away from school because they are too poor to afford padding materials that would adequately protect them from the shame and ridicule that comes by staining their uniforms with menstrual blood? What malice plays in the heart of a woman who sleeps with a man who finds money for millions of bullets, billions of bribes, and uncountable ballots to stuff into boxes but she cannot ask him to prioritise sanitary pads for poor schoolgirls? She is no Mama! She is just Janet!”
Nyanzi continued by recounting how she had received education on menstrual care as a young girl from her mother, before concluding: “I should visit [Mrs Museveni] without protection during my next menstruation period, sit in her spotless sofas and arise after staining her soul with my menstrual blood! That will be my peaceful demonstration in solidarity with Uganda’s poor adolescent girls.”
When Nyanzi was summoned by the police to answer for her comments, the academic responded by calling on her followers to turn up in solidarity at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters with pads.
Soon, an online crowd funder had been set up, and a team of over forty volunteers began a campaign to fulfil President Museveni’s broken promise themselves. They visited several schools, dispensing sanitary pads and teaching girls about menstrual hygiene. According to campaign spokesperson Almeidah Ampwere, over a million pads have already been distributed so far.
Nyanzi pleaded not guilty to the charges this afternoon. The court then declined to hear her bail application, meaning Nyanzi is to be remanded in custody until 25 April.


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