A People Power protest raged Friday in Washington DC as Ugandans living in America demanded freedom for Makerere researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi and Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine.
The protests were led by Arao Ameny aka Daughter of Apio, a Ugandan writer living in Maryland State of United States of America.
Ameny and her group of demonstrators were expressing displeasure with the lack of freedom of speech, expression and assembly in Uganda.
They marched from World Bank headquarters to Scribes Strategists & Advisors; chanting, singing, interacting with passers-by and proceeded to White House.
“Twaagala Bobi si Bosco [We want Bobi Wine not Bosco—nickname for President Museveni]”, the protesters chanted.
Ameny is mainly representing Dr Stella Nyanzi, a scholar, teacher, writer, mother who was incarcerated for speaking her mind.
“Freedom of expression is her constitutional right,” Ameny said.
In front of Scribes Strategists & Advisors, the protesters called out Joseph Szlavik who trades secrets and his lobby firm in Washington D.C. to use his close-connected network in the Senate and the House.
They asked him to send a strong message to the donor community and President Museveni’s lobbyists in DC to protest against lack of freedom of speech, expression and assembly in Uganda.
Szlavik Partner Joseph Szlavik served at the White House during the first Bush Administration as a policy analyst in the Office of Policy Development.
The protest started from 11:30am to 4:00pm involved Ugandans and friends of Uganda living in the Washington DC, Maryland and the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Dubbed “Red Friday”, the demonstration saw Washington painted red with caps, banners, flags, posters and drums.
“Remember we can no longer remain silent, this is our struggle to fight and win,” Ameny told fellow protesters.
“We have to send a strong message the Donor community and Museveni’s lobbyists in Washington. Museveni and his loyalists will not thrive at the expense of our people’s sweat and tears. The abuse of Human Rights, Lawlessness and Impunity must stop,” she added.
Ameny said if one lives in America, the Federal Government is investing one’s tax dollars “in a dictator who is using is power to violet his people’s human rights and dignity”.
“If you are an American, the Federal Government is using your power to empower families that have thrived on impoverishing others.”
Ameny who led the demonstration works in Communications at People Power – Uganda, is a Writing Instructor at University of Baltimore, Founder at (AAJW)-Association of African Journalists & Writers, Former Fiction Editor at Welter Literary Journal, Former Communications Associate-Social Media at New York City Independent Budget Office and Former Communications Associate/Social Media Editor/Writer at United Nations.
She currently studies MFA in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts at University of Baltimore College of Arts and Sciences.
She studied Masters in Journalism at Indiana University (Bloomington), Political Science at University of Indianapolis.
She currently lives in Columbia, Maryland and hails from Lira district in northern Uganda.