Ghanaian “People Power” supporters over the weekend marched in the capital Accra, demanding the release of Uganda’s controversial researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi.
In a welcome statement, People Power Movement founder and Kyadondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine, thanked the people of Ghana for speaking out against injuries.
“Thank you People Power Ghana for rising up and raising your voices against the continued persecution of Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a political prisoner who has been in detention since 2nd November, 2018.”
Bobi Wine said Nyanzi’s biggest crime is daring to speak up against the evils which bedevil the country- corruption, nepotism, state failure.
“In the end we shall remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends,” he said.
On March 8 which was a women’s day, Bobi Wine recalled in a special way, the women who have gotten onto the forefront in the struggle for the liberation of Uganda.
“In particular, we celebrate and stand in solidarity with Dr. Stella Nyanzi who continues to face untold trials and tribulations for daring to stand up to the despot,” he said.
He added: “Our struggle is in part, to ensure that women and girls live free in a new Uganda based on justice, truth and equal opportunity.”
On October 2nd, 2018, the Makerere University’s Staff Appeals Tribunal directed the university management to immediately reinstate Dr. Stella Nyanzi at Makerere University stating that her suspension (for Facebook posts about the Minister of Education) was unlawful and illegal.
In addition, the University was instructed to pay all emoluments withheld in the period Dr. Nyanzi was unlawfully suspended.
By November 1st, 2018, the University administration had not effectively responded to the directive.
Unemployed and without a salary, Dr. Stella Nyanzi through her lawyer informed the Uganda Police of her intention to hold a peaceful silent procession to Makerere University in protest.
On November 2nd, 2018, Dr. Stella Nyanzi went to Wandegeya Police station to “obtain” Police escorts intended to provide the silent marchers security. At 11:40 am reports indicated that she had been arrested.
On November 7th, Dr. Stella Nyanzi appeared at Buganda Road court and was charged with cyber harassment, offensive communication and disturbing the peace, quiet or right of privacy of President Museveni. Dr. Nyanzi was held by state security apparatus without charge for longer than the constitutionally acceptable period.
Dr. Nyanzi’s next court appearance was November 20th, 2018 and she is set to return on December 10th, 2018.
In all these proceedings, the criminal charges and imprisonment suffered by Dr. Stella Nyanzi, she is denied a chance to participate in gainful employment.
This is in contravention with section 63 (2) of the Employment Act, 2006: as well as article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Both the 2017 and 2018 criminal charges in which she is accused of disturbing the peace of President Museveni; and The First Lady and Minister of Education and Sports, Mrs. Janet Kataaha Museveni using poetic metaphors are a direct assault to the Creative Freedom and license to all who possess Artistic and Creative leanings in Uganda as well as an affront to academic and intellectual freedom overall.
Both these rights and freedoms are protected within the larger right to freedom of expression under the Ugandan Constitution, the African Charter on Peoples and Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention for Civil and Political Rights, among others.
The charges and continued detention of Dr. Stella Nyanzi amount to a persecution campaign by the state of Uganda, contrary to the country’s legal obligations at national, regional and international levels.
We therefore appeal to the authorities herein addressed to ensure that the charges levied against Dr. Stella Nyanzi are dropped and her persecution brought to a stop.