Controversial Makerere University academic Dr Stella Nyanzi was charged with insulting President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady Janet Museveni and his late mother, Ms Esteri Kokundeka, in a vulgar poem published on facebook.
Her poem, published last September, used a graphic description of the birth of the Ugandan President and his mother’s vagina to criticize his “oppression, suppression and repression” of the country, which he has ruled for over 30 years.
Nyanzi, an anthropologist who has studied a wide range of marginalized communities in Uganda and other African countries, including sex workers, women with HIV, and LGBTQ people became an activist when she began attending the court cases of people she was studying and visiting them in jail.
She’s got quite a reputation as she has three other legal cases: another “cyber harassment and offensive communication” trial for a poem calling the President a “pair of buttocks,” which she took bail for; a civil dispute with her former employer Makerere University, who dismissed her for staging a naked protest; and a case disputing her inclusion on Uganda’s “no-fly” list initiated by her critical Facebook commentary.
A Ugandan court sentenced her to 18 months in prison for cyber harassment, but will only serve for nine months as she had spent a similar duration in remand. An offence of cyber harassment attracts a three-year sentence or a fine of 72 currency points, each valued at ($5).
But Nyanzi did not let the court ruling tame her wild self. The controversial activist exposed her breasts as before walking away from the camera, exposed her breasts in protest, accusing the magistrate of not listening to her plea after she was handed the jail sentence.
Striping before a court appears to be her most preferred form of protest as she conducted herself in a previous manner over her alleged administrative mistreatment by the leadership of the Makerere University Institute of Social Research (MISR). Dr Nyanzi has been in custody at the Luzira prison in the capital Kampala since last year.