By Andrew Irumba
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Mike Chibita has apologized for the delays in the prosecution of a case, in which Makerere University researcher, Dr Stella Nyanzi is accused of referring to President Museveni as “pair of buttocks.”
Senior state prosecutor, Nelly Asiku told the Buganda Road Court Magistrate James Eremye Mawanda on Tuesday that the delay of Nyanzi’s case is regrettable.
“The DPP didn’t intend to delay the matter but because of the industrial action, he has not been able to come up with a decision”, Asiku told court. Nyanzi is charged with offensive communication and cyber harassment under the Computer Misuse Act 2011.
The charges stem from a facebook post early last year on Dr.Nyanzi’s wall, in which she described Museveni as ‘a pair of buttocks’. On July 21, 2017, Nyanzi’s lawyer, Isaac Semakadde wrote to the DPP asking him to drop the charges, saying the law provides for feedback within a period of not more than sixty days.
In his ruling on Tuesday, Magistrate Eremye acknowledged that there hasn’t been a response from the DPP since the application was given to Jonathan Muwaganya, one of the state attorneys to deliver to the DPP. Eremye however, blamed the delay on the recent country-wide prosecutors strike.
“I want to agree that the industrial action has affected the accused. It’s evidenced by the way she reacts, but the sixty days only apply when the ruling has been fixed’, said Eremye.
He adjourned the matter to February 20 to allow the DPP come up with his response in regard to Nyanzi’s application to withdraw the charges and so as to fix the date for hearing.
Dr Nyanzi isn’t new to controversy. In 2016, she stripped naked and used obscene language to protest a decision by Prof Mahmood Mamdani, the director of Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) to evict her from her office after she refused to lecture.
Nyanzi filed a suit on July 28 2017, through her lawyers Center For Legal Aid (CLA), challenging government’s actions of clandestinely placing her name on a “no-fly list,” confiscating her passport on March 19 and subsequently ignoring her administrative complaint about her mistreatment at Entebbe International airport. Nyanzi was banned from travel following her acerbic Facebook posts against both President Museveni and First Lady.