By Andrew Irumba
Makerere University Research fellow Dr. Stella Nyanzi was rearrested on Thursday, shortly after being released by court from Luzira prisons, where she has been serving a jail sentence after being convicted of cyber harassment and disturbing the person of the president.
Dr Nyanzi had been released after she won an appeal she had filed contesting her sentence.
However, police deployed at court tried to re-arrest Dr Nyanzi, which sparked off a scuffle between them and her supporters. In response, the cops fired teargas and bullets in the air so as to disperse Nyanzi’s supporters.
They later overpowered her supporters, rearrested and whisked her back to Luzira prisons.
Dr. Nyanzi, who exposed her breasts and stripped after being locked out of her office at MUK, was in August 2019, sentenced to 18 months’ prison by Buganda Road court Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu, on controversial charges of “harassing” President Yoweri Museveni, his late mother Esteri Kokundeka and the first lady Janet Museveni.
The verdict against Nyanzi sparked off anger from human rights activists, among them Forum for Democratic Change Women League leader Ingrid Turinawe and others, who accused the government of using laws about electronic communications to stifle political dissent.
Nyanzi however served nine months in prison after having already spent nine months behind bars.
However, during the ruling, Nyanzi, who appeared in a court via video link, Nyanzi raised her middle fingers at the Magistrate and yelled obscenities in defiance as she was sentenced, before flashing her breasts as her supporters cheered, before they threw a plastic bottle at the Magistrate, prompting the police to unleash violence unto them before they were arrested.
The second charge of “offensive communication” was dropped against Nyanzi, who however vowed not to relent in her barbed criticism of Uganda’s long-serving ruler.
A research associate at Kampala’s prestigious Makerere University, Nyanzi holds a doctorate on sexuality in Africa and has defended her visceral attacks against Museveni and his family.