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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#FreeStellaNyanzi campaign goes global - #Uganda


Dr. Stella Nyanzi – A Ugandan Liberation Fighter with a Difference. Her Persecution by the Museveni regime may be turning a ‘Political Virgin’ into a Ugandan ‘Che Guevara’. 

[By Dr Vincent Magombe, Secretary of the Leadership Committee and Press Secretary of Free Uganda (FU), the Uganda pro-democracy campaign group – 11/04/2017]

Thousands of Ugandans, many of them operating across a variety of social networks, from Facebook to Twitter, and others setting up physical ‘FREE STELLA NYANZI’ campaign groups, have rallied to the support of Dr. Stella Nyanzi, a fiery, no-nonsense Makerere University academic who has seriously unsettled the embattled Ugandan military regime of General Yoweri Museveni.

The 42-year old Dr Stella Nyanzi has rapidly become a house-hold name in Uganda, and some would say ‘much- loved’ liberation struggle leader, after she unleashed a volcano of colourful ‘vulgarities’ at Mr Museveni and his wife, whom she accused of having an uncaring attitude towards the Ugandan and African girl-child.

The central point of contention between Dr Stella Nyanzi and the Museveni household was the supposed negation by Museveni regime of state responsibility to provide young Ugandan girls of primary and secondary age the basic necessities of life, such as menstrual period sanitary pads. 

To protest what she saw as the abject relegation of national responsibility, Dr Stella Nyanzi sought to shame the Musevenis into action, by describing their indifference and lack of care for the Ugandan girl-children in terminologies and expressions bordering on naked vulgarity. 

Her politically-charged and loquacious verbosity, which has pricked the bottoms of Mr Museveni and his wife Janet Museveni, like the sharp thorns of the beautiful Lycium flower plant, may “have touched the anus of a leopard” to use Mr Museveni’s own words, which he recently used to describe how angry and dangerous he had become in the face of relentless criticisms by Ugandan opposition politicians. 

In a period of just a few days after her arrest in Kampala by the Ugandan regime, glaring portraits of Stella Nyanzi, wearing the distinctive Che Guevara style ‘liberation struggle hat’, went viral on the social networks, with many Ugandans choosing to replace their Facebook account photo IDs with that of Dr Nyanzi.

Dr. Nyanzi’s evidently disproportionate persecution by the Museveni regime may be inadvertently transforming a ‘Political Virgin’, someone who until now had not really shown much interest in political activism per say, into a Ugandan ‘Che Guevara’.

If the Ugandan dictator Yoweri Museveni and his wife Janet Museveni thought that by arresting Dr Stella Nyanzi they were solving, once and for all, the STELLA NYANZI problem, they couldn’t have been so wrong.

The sharp thorns of the beautiful Lycium flower, which the furiously vocal, but as yet peaceful ‘Political Virgin’, Nyanzi had unleashed into their hardened bottoms, could be on the verge of magically transforming into a thousand tongues of the feared venomous viper snake. Just imagine what a thousand viper snake venom-filled tongues could do to one’s bare bottom!

And speaking of Che Guevarra, if mere shouts of harmless vulgarities by Dr Stella Nyanzi could so grievously upset the Museveni household, which has dominated Ugandan politics for over thirty years using the force of arms, one wonders what a fully-fledged ‘Ugandan Che Guevarra’ could bring into liberation equation at a time when Museveni and his repressive regime are thought to be at their weakest.

Today in Uganda, several liberation initiatives are at play, with a growing number of anti-Museveni activists organising wide-ranging forms of ‘Defiance’ campaigns aimed at toppling the 3-decade long authoritarian regime. 

Dr. Stella Nyanzi’s incredibly damning verbal assault on the Musevenis, including comparing them to human bottoms, may have earned her a baptism of Museveni’s prison cells, where she was injudiciously confined without being charged for over 48 hours – a clear violation of Uganda’s constitutional provisions. No one knows what still awaits her in a country where political opponents are routinely imprisoned, tortured and even killed by the ruling dictatorship.

But the causes for which she has decided to sacrifice herself, including her defence of the rights of the African Girl-Child, and the symbolism she is now assuming as ‘Uganda’s very own Che Guevara’ may be what Ugandans have been waiting for before they could decide to massively join the on-going struggle for a better Uganda.

Dr Stella Nyanzi’s strange ‘war tactics’ and unique verbosity and her subsequent persecution by the Museveni regime is already attracting attention beyond the shores of Uganda. Going by the news reports emerging in the global media, it seems even non-Ugandans are starting to ask new questions about Museveni’s repressive rule in Uganda.

In the words of Maria Burnett, associate director for Africa at Human Rights Watch, Nyanzi's arrest and prosecution was an "indicator that those who express critical views of the Ugandan government, especially the first family, can face its wrath".

Follow these internet links to see how global media is covering the Stella Nyanzi story - 

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39558007?ocid=socialflow_facebook

U.S. warns Uganda on "freedom of expression" after academic arrested for criticizing dictator
http://www.blackstarnews.com/global-politics/africa/us-warns-uganda-on-freedom-of-expression-after-academic

Aljazeera - Academic Stella Nyanzi charged with 'cyber harassment'
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/04/academic-stella-nyanzi-charged-cyber-harassment-170410183134831.html

Voice of America - Ugandan Researcher Charged for Insulting President Over Sanitary Pads
http://www.voanews.com/a/ugandan-researcher-charged-for-insulting-president-over-sanitary-pads/3804355.html

Voice of America – Uganda Police Arrest Academic Who Rebuked the First Family
http://www.voanews.com/a/uganda-police-arrest-academic-who-rebuked-the-first-family/3802829.html

UK Daily Mail - Uganda arrests academic who criticised president's wife
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/wires/afp/article-4393330/Uganda-arrests-academic-criticised-presidents-wife.html

Standard Group – Uganda arrests academic Stella Nyanzi for criticising president's wife
https://www.standardmedia.co.ke/article/2001235661/uganda-arrests-academic-stella-nyanzi-for-criticising-president-s-wife

All Africa.com - Uganda: Stella Nyanzi, the Vulgar Activist, Takes On the Pair-of-Buttocks-in-Chief
http://allafrica.com/stories/201704110097.html

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