Outspoken feminist, academic and Uganda government critic Dr Stella Nyanzi is expected to be brought before court today to face various charges.
Police spokesman Emilian Kayima confirmed Nyanzi was taken into custody by them on Friday and would appear in court Monday in Kampala on charges of cyber harassment and offensive communication under a 2011 law governing computer misuse. “She kept posting issues, fighting battles on social media which we think does not serve her interests or ours,” Kayima said.
A human rights lawyer however indicated she will face charges for raising money from the public without registration.
This follows Dr Nyanzi’s recent campaign to provide free sanitary pads for school girls, during which she attacked government for its failure to live to a related campaign promise.
Her campaign will likely also result in another charge, according to human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.
“The police interrogated Stella for raising money from the public without registration contrary to the Public Collections Act, 1966. After reading a charge and caution statement re -Public Collections Act, Stella elected to remain silent and not self incriminate,” Opiyo tweeted soon after meeting the detained academic.
The academic, whose no-holds-barred work is seen as provocative in some circles of a largely conservative society, had accused the first lady of being “totally out of touch with the reality of the masses”.
Social media critic Rosebell Kagumire said that, with Nyanzi’s arrest, “I think the government are looking for ways to extend traditional methods of intimidation to online speech. They are trying to control a space they have no ability to control.”
THE PUBLIC COLLECTION ACT 1966
The COMPUTER MISUSE ACT 2011
**** Additional reporting by AFP