The Ugandan government charged a prominent academic with a “cyber harassment” offence on Monday after she repeatedly posted criticism of President Yoweri Museveni and his wife on Facebook, according to court documents.
Museveni, 72, has ruled the East African nation for three decades. Critics say he has failed to tackle corruption, human rights abuses and dysfunctional public services.
Academic Stella Nyanzi, 42, a university research fellow and lecturer, called Museveni “a pair of buttocks” and his wife, who doubles as education minister, “empty-brained” in a post on her Facebook page.
Nyanzi was banned from travelling abroad last month and the state-run university where she works has begun procedures to fire her. She was arrested late on Friday before being charged on Monday, according to a charge sheet seen by Reuters.
Maria Burnett, associate director for Africa at Human Rights Watch, said the arrest and charging of Nyanzi was an “indicator that those who express critical views of the Ugandan government, especially the first family, can face its
Below is her statement before court.
“Offensive communication? Who is offended? How long are Ugandans going to be silent because of fear….He makes promises about Sanitary pads he goes against the promise…only honorable men fulfil their promises, Yoweri Museveni is dishonorable.
Am ready to take on the mantle of insanity if the regime is going to be told for the first time about how it has offended Ugandans…Yes your honor I have written a lot about those who rule us, nepotism, however Am not guilty of offensive communication”