Uganda: Music band members arrested for complaining about president’s speech length 

Francis Akhalbey April 09, 2024
Eight music band members have been arrested after they allegedly complained about President Yoweri Museveni's speech length at an event -- Photo Credit: Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office

Authorities in Uganda have arrested and charged eight music band members for insulting the East African nation’s president after they allegedly complained about a speech he was giving at an event on Saturday.

Per BBC, the incident occurred during the 50th wedding anniversary celebrations of former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and his wife Jacqueline Mbabazi. President Yoweri Museveni is said to have delivered a speech during the event, but the members of the Crane Performers band were heard registering their displeasure over the length of his speech. 

Security sources reportedly claimed that the band members were talking in the local Runyankole dialect at the time. They allegedly said, “Rutabandana Waturusya Rugahamuzindaro” – which means: “over speaker, we are tired, leave the microphone.”

The East African nation’s police as well as the band are yet to respond to the incident. As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, not all leaders in Africa – even those who claim to be practicing democracy – give field days to people who decide to express their freedom of speech, particularly when it involves insulting or criticizing the president.

In Uganda, the law of insulting the president attracts a jail term. A previous case was reported of how police in the central Gomba District arrested a 19-year-old man for allegedly insulting Museveni. According to the authorities, Joseph Kasumba, a resident of Kanoni town, abused the head of State who was on his way back from attending a New Year’s church service.

Besides Uganda, other African countries including Zimbabwe, Rwanda, and Cameroon have laws of such nature. In Zimbabwe, it is more restricting to criticize the president of the country. Although this practice was more predominant under the rule of the former president, Robert Mugabe, the country’s current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has not decriminalized this.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 9, 2024


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