NTV's Gertrude Uwitware kidnapped, blindfolded

Monday April 10 2017

KAMPALA. Police have launched the hunt for suspected criminals that had kidnapped NTV’s journalist Gertrude Tumusiime Uwitware on Saturday.
Ms Uwitware who was reportedly found dumped in the areas of Kira Division late in the night, said she was abducted, blind-folded by two people; a woman and a pistol-wielding man before being driven to a secret location where she was interrogated for hours.

According to the NTV’s management, Ms Uwitware was picked up by unknown people driving a saloon car along the Nile Avenue on her way from having lunch.
Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson condemned and described Ms Uwitware’s kidnap as an act of cowardice.
“We thank all concerned and ask them to calm and promise to investigate these matters and bring the culprits to book,” Mr Kayima said in a statement.

The motive of the abduction is not yet known but it came on the heels of death threats the reporter received after she posted on social media defending regime critic and Makerere university research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi. Dr Nyanzi was

Dr Nyanzi arrested over offensive communication

Saturday April 08 2017

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KAMPALA- Police have  confirmed the arrest of Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi, who was picked from Mackinnon Suites Hotel in Nakasero where she was hosting a fundraising drive to raise money for sanitary pads for school girls.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, confirmed the arrest of Dr Nyanzi who has of recent gained popularity for using social media to criticise the regime especially Education Minister and First Lady Janet Museveni for failing to provide sanitary wear for school girls.

Mr Kayima who did not specify where the academician was being held said she had been arrested over two counts of cyber harassment contrary to Section 24 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 and Offensive Communication Section 25 of the same law.

“She is in our police facilities, period. Ask no more questions please. You have it all,” Mr Kayima said.

A source said Dr Nyanzi was picked by plain clothed security operatives who were waiting for her outside the hotel at about 8:30 pm

Some sources indicated that Dr Nyanzi was whisked to Jinja Road Police Station something Mr Kayima could not deny nor confirm.

“I have told you she in our cells and I think that is all you wanted,” Mr Kayima said.

In her various posts on her Facebook page, Dr Nyanzi attacked Ms Museveni, using vulgar language for urging parents not to transport children on commuter motorbikes to school.

 She also accused the First Lady of defending the government that it not have money to provide free sanitary towels for schools girls; a promise that was made by her husband President Yoweri Museveni during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

Last week, Ms Museveni in an interview with NTV said she had forgiven her since she was not aware of the source of her anger.

Barely a day after the First Lady’s public expression of forgiveness, Dr Nyanzi again took to social media and used sexual metaphors to reject the clemency.

 Mr Kayima could not reveal who Dr Nyanzi’s complainant was given the fact that her person she has been attacking had forgiven her.

He, however, said the researcher was arrested over earlier charges when she was summoned at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Department headquarters in Kibuli last month.

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and is expected

Dr Stella Nyanzi to appear in court today

Monday April 10 2017

latest001 pix

Makerere University research fellow

Dr Nyanzi arrested over offensive communication

Saturday April 08 2017

latest01pix

KAMPALA- Police have  confirmed the arrest of Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi, who was picked from Mackinnon Suites Hotel in Nakasero where she was hosting a fundraising drive to raise money for sanitary pads for school girls.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, confirmed the arrest of Dr Nyanzi who has of recent gained popularity for using social media to criticise the regime especially Education Minister and First Lady Janet Museveni for failing to provide sanitary wear for school girls.

Mr Kayima who did not specify where the academician was being held said she had been arrested over two counts of cyber harassment contrary to Section 24 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 and Offensive Communication Section 25 of the same law.

“She is in our police facilities, period. Ask no more questions please. You have it all,” Mr Kayima said.

A source said Dr Nyanzi was picked by plain clothed security operatives who were waiting for her outside the hotel at about 8:30 pm

Some sources indicated that Dr Nyanzi was whisked to Jinja Road Police Station something Mr Kayima could not deny nor confirm.

“I have told you she in our cells and I think that is all you wanted,” Mr Kayima said.

In her various posts on her Facebook page, Dr Nyanzi attacked Ms Museveni, using vulgar language for urging parents not to transport children on commuter motorbikes to school.

 She also accused the First Lady of defending the government that it not have money to provide free sanitary towels for schools girls; a promise that was made by her husband President Yoweri Museveni during the 2016 presidential campaigns.

Last week, Ms Museveni in an interview with NTV said she had forgiven her since she was not aware of the source of her anger.

Barely a day after the First Lady’s public expression of forgiveness, Dr Nyanzi again took to social media and used sexual metaphors to reject the clemency.

 Mr Kayima could not reveal who Dr Nyanzi’s complainant was given the fact that her person she has been attacking had forgiven her.

He, however, said the researcher was arrested over earlier charges when she was summoned at the Directorate of Criminal Investigations Department headquarters in Kibuli last month.

 [email protected]

at Mackinnon Suites Hotel in Nakasero on Friday, is expected to appear in court today.
Dr Nyanzi, who’s currently being detained at being detained at Kira Divisional police headquarters is to appear in court over computer misuse offences, according to Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima.
She was arrested shortly after hosting a fundraising drive to raise money for sanitary pads for school girls.
Mr Kayima said she will be charged with two counts of cyber harassment contrary to Section 24 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 and Offensive Communication Section 25 of the same law.

READ:

Beyond Stella Nyanzi: Power, privilege, and discontent in Uganda

Tuesday April 04 2017


For the first time, this column will write about Ms Stella Nyanzi, researcher, feminist, and tree-shaker.
It is not about her boldly strong and flowery language, or her wielding nudity for protest. Rather about what her social activism, and the response of the State to them, tell us about how the times are a changing.

There are two people who set Ugandan social media ablaze and upset those in power.

The first, and really the pioneer of social media combat, is Tom Voltaire Okwalinga, or TVO.

The other is Stella Nyanzi.
We have had earlier digital warriors, more memorably “Radio Katwe”, but that was a blog, so it didn’t have the possibility of feeding the frenzy that social media provides.

No one is sure who TVO is, nor who was behind “Radio Katwe”. But we know they were/are men. Secondly, they were anonymous.
Ms Nyanzi is, therefore, our first neck-on-the-chopping-block female social media combatant. But even more remarkable, the first to do this kind of battle without being anonymous.
That is truly noteworthy. And it also speaks to how gender politics and power are shifting in Uganda.

To borrow an unfortunate expression from the locker room, Ms Nyanzi is the first Ugandan “man” of social media activism. Where others hide in pseudonyms, she fights her wars fearless in the name that is on her school certificates.

But where Nyanzi has been most shrewd, is the issue she used to build her latest campaign on – sanitary pads for the poorer school girls in Uganda.

The people who really have to learn a lesson here, on how to take an issue that is seemingly on the margins of politics and then mainstreaming it, are the Ugandan Opposition.

Despite President Museveni promising to have a sanitary pads programme for school girls as he campaigned last year, the government now says it doesn’t have the money for it. A crowd-sourcing effort launched by Nyanzi, who argued that billions of shillings are stolen daily in corruption and spent on dubious projects, quickly raised millions of shillings for sanitary towels.

But that exactly is the rub. If the government responds by funding the programme, it will be seen to have lost out to Nyanzi. By making the “no money” argument, Museveni comes across as your typical politician who makes promises he doesn’t intend to keep during campaigns.

The third has been an attempt to suppress Nyanzi, first by summoning her to record a statement with the police about her controversial social comments; then preventing her from flying to a conference in Europe; and finally suspending her from her job at Makerere University. In any event, the effect of all this is that the First Lady Janet Museveni, who is Minister of Education, soon got embroiled in an unusually direct duel with Nyanzi, who had cast her as a privileged princess out of touch with the daily suffering of ordinary Ugandans after decades behind the walls of the presidential palace.

Even more significant, through her language and framing of the issue around sanitary towels, Nyanzi achieved something hardly anyone else has before. She managed to marginalise Museveni from what has become a major national conversation about power, its abuse, privilege and inequality of access to resources.

Ms Museveni has seemed to squirm in the spotlight Nyanzi has put on her, trapped between the message, which she probably has sympathy with, and the messenger, whom she detests.
However, we have got a very good insight into the inability of the Museveni House to deal with “new age” and on-the-edge soft social issues.

That the State is looking to charge Nyanzi, not only reveals an Achilles Heel, but also speaks to the second issue – the continuing seepage of conversation-setting power away from mainstream media and the professional commentariat, to people like Nyanzi and TVO.

But that, we already knew. What we weren’t sure, was the institutional form the State’s response to the rise of this social media activism would be.

The job has fallen to the telecoms industry regulator, the Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), because it is about controlling access and use of the Internet. The UCC is slowly reincarnating as the old long-scrapped and disgraceful Censorship Board.

My friend Godfrey Mutabazi, the executive director of UCC, finds himself having to justify blocking access to the Internet, and delivering regular sermons on responsible social media usage, more than minister of ICT and National Guidance Frank Tumwebaze, whose job it is to deal with such messy issues.

On the other hand, the Civil Aviation Authority has lately found itself blocking more people from travelling than the police (which has only Kizza Besigye to worry about), and Makerere University, if it doesn’t push back, could become the regime’s Thought Police.

I don’t know whether Nyanzi knows how much she has upset the political apple cart.

Onyango-Obbo is the publisher of Africa data visualiser Africapedia.com and explainer site Roguechiefs.com. [email protected]

ALSO READ:

Vulgar Stella Nyanzi is a sanitary towel champion

Thursday April 06 2017


Stella Nyanzi has intrigued me just as she has many other people in recent days and I begin by asking myself, who is Stella Nyanzi? Is she a feminist? Is she an activist? Is she an educationalist? Is she a rebel with a cause? I think first and foremost I’d say Stella Nyanzi is a hero to hundreds and thousands of little girls and women who know where she is coming from, in terms of defending women’s rights to sanitary towels.

Although her standpoint may seem personal, she has turned the personal into a huge political issue. She has taken the very central issue of periods and gone to the heart of what it means to be female. She has gone to the heart of gender issues.

Feminists the world over will talk about how the personal is political but Nyanzi has thrown it right out there in the open and we have all suddenly understood how something that we perceive as very personal, indeed private, can become so political. That is the crux of the matter.

And so Stella Nyanzi in defending girls’ rights to sanitary towels is accused of being vulgar. But we need to take a moment to ask ourselves who or what is really vulgar here. Is it Stella Nyanzi speaking profanities or is it the situation of the hundreds of girls, who have been shamed, teased, ridiculed, laughed at, until they’ve cowered with embarrassment or run out of class in tears, or stayed at home in shame, because of their menstrual periods? I think we must agree that the real vulgar thing here is that this scenario happens at all.

The issue of sanitary towels goes to the heart of education. Every child has the right to education and to development, to personal development of the body and the mind. If education is a right, then its denial is a violation of a right. And if it is denial of a right based on one’s gender, then it amounts to gender discrimination, which under the Constitution is a human rights violation.

So really what we are talking about is that the denial of sanitary pads to girl’s amounts to gender discrimination, which is a denial of girl’s human rights. Right.

However we may not even need to go so far as to talk about sanitary towels in terms of human rights violations. We can talk about it simply as a social injustice. This is because it is affects those girls without the ability to provide for themselves. Therefore the lack of provision and facilities in schools is social injustice.

And so what is this government to do? Nyanzi has turned the personal into political and the only way is to use the antidote - You get personal. But unfortunately getting personal must be done on the right side. That means the government must turn this into its pet project. It means someone must come on board to say “You know what, girls rights to sanitary pads is a hell of an important thing for this country. It goes to the heart of development because keeping girls in school is educating half the nation and if you educate women you educate the nation. And so from henceforth we are going to make damn sure girls in school, have sanitary pads”.

They can go on to say that, “And as for Nyanzi and her sanitary suppliers, we are going to applaud them for bringing this to our attention because we did not know”.

And forthwith Nyanzi resumes her job, her travel ban is lifted and if she is summoned at all, it is to dinner, to be wined and dined and thanked profusely for bringing this to our attention. That is the kind of antidote that will work because of the hundreds and thousands of girls that are poised and waiting.

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Using sexual innuendos, Dr Nyanzi has for the past two weeks been posting strongly worded messages on her Facebook Wall criticizing government policies. Her main target has been Education Minister Janet Museveni, who was on March 30 forced to break the silence and react to Nyanzi's attacks. In an interview with NTV, the First Lady said she had forgiven the social media critic.
"I have received reports about Dr Stella Nyanzi insulting me. I want to tell Ugandans that I forgive her," she said.
Dr Nyanzi hit back saying that instead of offering to forgive her, the minister should fix the problems the government she serves, headed by her husband, has failed to address.
Section 24(1) of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 provides for a fine of up to 1.4 million shillings or a three-year imprisonment, or both, for any any person who commits cyber harassment.

The section defines cyber harassment as the use of a computer for purposes of making any request, suggestion or proposal which is obscene, lewd, lascivious or indecent; threatening to inflict injury or physical harm to the person or property of any person; or knowingly permit any electronic communications device to be used for any of the purposes mentioned in this section.
Section 25 provides for a one-year prison sentence or a fine not exceeding Shs480,000 or both, for offensive communication.
It states: "Any person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanor and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding twenty four currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both."

over two counts of cyber harassment contrary to Section 24 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 and Offensive Communication Section 25 of the same law.
Ms Uwitware had earlier reported a case of threatening violence at Central Police station (CPS) Kampala.

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