Jailed activist Stella Nyanzi wins human rights award

Wednesday May 15 2019
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Jailed Makerere University Research Fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi flanked by her lawyer Isaac Semakadde (left) and a prison warder at court recently. FILE PHOTO

KAMPALA. Social activist Dr Stella Nyanzi has been awarded by Solidarity Uganda for being a consistent human rights defender.
The award was received by Dr Nyanzi’s daughter Bah Baraka on behalf of her mother who is currently detained in Luzira Prison for allegedly using electronic communication to disturb the peace of President Museveni.

While giving out the award on Monday, Jane Asinde, the programmes manager at Solidarity Uganda noted that Dr Nyanzi has embodied the essence of a brave activist, adding that she is not afraid to stand alone against any injustice.

She also said that despite being ‘politically harassed’ for fighting against injustice in the country, Dr Nyanzi remains true to her own values, something she said, is an inspiration to many activists.
“Dr Nyanzi has taught us that injustice negatively affects the day-to-day life of young girls, and that struggling for political liberation overlaps with building the power, confidence and, and freedom of the young, the sick, and others who are systematically neglected,”.

She added: “This is a woman who is true to herself even when passive conservative segments of society defame her. She has leveraged her privilege on behalf others in ways most of us would not”.
Every year, Solidarity Uganda, a non-profit organization, awards strategic, courageous, and progressive member of society for their contributions towards social and political change.

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Dr Stella Nyanzi's daughter Bah Baraka receives the award on her behalf. On the left looking on is Mr Dennis Komakech who was also awarded for using his activism to fight against land grabbing in Northern Uganda. PHOTO BY AMOS NGWOMOYA

The awards are divided into two categories; activist of the year which is given to an activist in Uganda for frontline work of activism and the community organizer of the year award which is given to an organizer that has mobilized many people to practice collective non-violent civil resistance.


Dr Nyanzi got the former while Dennis Komakech got the latter for using his activism to fight against land grabbing in Northern Uganda.
“Mr Komaketch is a brilliant example of what it means to be a community organizer. As a resident of Amuru, he coordinated a 33-day, 234 occupation of a United Nations office in Gulu that had refused to call upon the Ugandan government to stop violence and land grabbing in the village of Apaa,” Ms Asinde said.
While receiving her mother’s award, Baraka, who earlier on broke down for what she described as injustice against her mother, said she was happy that her mother’s voice has towered over voices of Ugandans to ensure that justice prevails.

“I can’t rule out the fact that we miss her but we are happy as a family to see that she has been consistent in demanding for equal rights and this is one of the values she dearly espouses. We hope that she will come out of prison soon so that we can connect again,” she said.
On the other hand, Mr Komakech noted that he would not give up on defending his people in Amuru.
“When one grabs land, they displace hundreds of people and this is what hurts me so much. I therefore chose to be their face in defending their human rights,” he said.