Makerere researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi says police has been on her case for some time now, tapping her phone calls and compromising her internet access.
Nyanzi who on Friday June 16, 2017 celebrated her 43rd birthday, said she finally got a safe and secure internet access after two whole months of blockage.
“My digital security got severely compromised when the police started investing my cyber activities,” she said, adding, “In addition to evidently tapping my telephone calls, my official and personal emails were hacked into.”
Nyanzi said under this unwanted intrusive surveillance, she uninstalled almost all interactive apps from her different electronic gadgets.
“I disabled Skype, Twitter, Watsapp, Instagram, Signal, Facebook Messenger, IMO, and Google Chat.”
She further restricted her online activities to only her Facebook timeline because her activities here are already public anyway.
According to Nyanzi, resuming electronic communication in the virtual world is liberating.
“There is a sizeable backlog of emails and messages waiting for my response. I apologise for any inconveniences caused by my delayed response. I promise to respond to all pending communication within the next seven days. Please bear with me.”
Nyanzi’s past year has been full of adventures; it started with her being suspended twice from Makerere University.
The first suspension was for her nude protest against the Makerere Institute of Social Research [MISR] inability to stop the abuse of her labour rights.
The second suspension was for her Facebook posts criticising the president’s wife who is Minister of Education, Janet Kataaha Museveni.
She spent six months of the first suspension on a prestigious fellowship in Stellenbosch and spent thirty-three days of the second suspension in maximum security detention at Luzira Women’s Prison.
“The solidarity and support outweighed the condemnation during these intense periods of my life. These were superb learning experiences for me. I wouldn’t change any of it,” she recalls.
“There were some firsts for me. I had my first one-night stand. I created my first full-time office at home. I was put on the controversial No Fly List for the first time: banning any air travel for me. I got abducted by police goons for the first time. I lived in a safe-house for the first time. I got my very first urinary tract infection. I petitioned the constitutional court of Uganda against a bad law… Do not believe those who claim that life stops in the forties.”
But Nyanzi’s most powerful achievement for in the last one year was being at the heart of #Pads4GirlsUg where she challenged national leaders to fulfil their promises.
As for the experience, Nyanzi says it was very empowering to witness several concerned individuals contributing towards the purchase and delivery of sanitary pads to school-girls all over Uganda.
“Giving these menstrual hygiene products to the students was very fulfilling. I learnt the value of service above self.”