A Ugandan high court has quashed the conviction of Dr. Stella Nyanzi on the grounds of lack of jurisdiction and fair hearing.
Dr. Nyanzi, known across the continent as a scholar, feminist and an outspoken critic of the Yoweri Museveni government, was sentenced to 18 months in prison for insulting the president.
Her official charges were cyber harassment and offensive communication.
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This was after she had taken to Facebook to publish a poem which included the line: “the vaginal canal of the acidic pus flooding Esiteri had burned up (the president’s) unborn fetus.”
The line insinuated that President Museveni should have died at birth. The president’s mother’s name is Esiteri Kokundeka.
Dr. Nyanzi’s release was greeted with jubilation across the continent among those who share her politics. An international campaign was put together to put pressure on President Museveni.
Dr. Nyanzi is a former professor at Makerere University. She is a fierce advocate of “radical rudeness”, a philosophy that teaches that Ugandan social justice activists need to disrespect politicians to make their point.
In 2018, she was fired from her post at the university after the post on Facebook was deemed a criminal offense by the authorities.
But there are no signs that Dr. Nyanzi will quiet down after this episode of her life.
When she was released, Dr. Nyanzi told reporters, “I am glad to be here, I am glad to be released, why was I in prison for more than one year? I want to know what is wrong with the courts, which abuse the rights of accused people?”
She added: “How long are Ugandans going to be silent because they are going to fear accusations of offense?”