Making Sense of Stella Nyanzi’s Arrest by Government

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Stella Nyanzi's methods, although not ideal, proved effective
Stella Nyanzi's methods, although not ideal, proved effective

Sometime back, a post against Stella Nyanzi’s activities on my blog drew a lot of criticism. Even then, I insist that much as her cause is right, her methods are wrong. It doesn’t matter how many people think otherwise, I’m certain no one would want their daughter to use vulgar language or more, be public about it.

Looking over her indecent rants and posts on her Facebook page, Nyanzi’s complaints to government are of importance to Ugandans. If only they were addressed in a more respectful manner! Her complaint towards Janet Museveni about the lack of sanitary pad funds was only fair. She is a concerned citizen!

However, her popularity for indecency has overpowered her lamentations to government. Many people are unsatisfied with the way government operates. They would love to have a ‘brave’ one to voice out their discomforts. However, a voice that is disrespectful isn’t a very helpful one either.

Nyanzi isn’t the first Ugandan to come out against government! There are other critics like Besigye, (the most popular of them) Gashumba, Erias Lukwago, Betty Nambooze and many more. They’ve all been heard and ignored. The obvious course of action taken by government against such is usually an arrest. That should shut the ‘hippies’ up as life goes on. Besigye is well conversant with this sort of policy.

As always, it is the police that makes the celebrities in Uganda. Just like they do it with Besigye, they have done with Nyanzi. If she wasn’t popular enough before, she sure will be after her trial! Before, she was just another citizen that is unhappy with the government. Her arrest only proves that she has been clearly heard!

Charged with cyber harassment and Offensive Communication contrary to Section 24 and Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act of 2011 respectively, she will face, if found guilty, (section 24 (1)) a fine of up to 1.4 million shillings or serve a three year prison sentence or both. Section 25 will have her pay a fine of not more than Ush480,000 or a one year prison sentence or both. Hopefully, her good lawyers will save our abusive voice to government! We surely need someone to undress when matters get extreme!

That aside, Stella Nyanzi isn’t the first person to use vulgar language on social media! The law by which she was arrested has no exclusions. Many people have been very abusive towards others on social media. These scandals have been seen all the time! No one ever files a case for such petty issues as cyber harassment. What then, makes the educationist’s case different?

First, she attacked the government… that’s not new! Then, she went personal with the first lady! Now that isn’t something one sees every day. But, the first lady forgave the vulgar academician on National TV! The police won’t reveal who the other complainant is. It is understandable that one can’t go publicly against Stella Nyanzi and all her fans or come out as the complainant for that matter. If there is any!

Keeping in mind that the legal procedure was followed while arresting Stella Nyanzi, consider the possibility that there is no accuser. Many times while the late Kaweesi was in charge, Besigye was arrested without proper charges against him. But then, the country knows that was the government trying to cool the heat from the opposition.

There are individuals in this nation who can single handedly cause uncalled for chaos. Besigye is very popular for this. Unknowingly, the police’s intervention with Besigye’s activities has made him more popular than he was. Police, being under an arm of government, represents the government’s reactions towards national situations. Therefore, when they act against an individual, it is an indication of that individual’s importance.

What Stella Nyanzi’s arrest says is that she hit a spot! If it wasn’t for that, there wouldn’t be need for the government to take her off the streets. She managed to rally an ‘e-mob’ against the government and the education minister. Of late, the world has witnessed the power of the internet. On social media, one can attack whoever they want in whatever manner they desire. There isn’t any physical force involved in online battles. As we know, our government isn’t so good with talking! They would rather act!

Without Stella Nyanzi, her fans will then become unheard of. That’s just what government wants, a peaceful environment to work without dealing with the noise. Nyanzi’s arrest surely wasn’t because she broke the law, people do that day and night! Her arrest indicates that she was noticed by the government, but they have no answers to her questions. What easier to way silence her besides an arrest!

Many don’t like the way this country is administered. Not all of these can demand what they believe is true justice and democracy! And the few that do, are silenced by the very law that should protect them. Although I’m against public indecency, Stella Nyanzi’s arrest is extreme! And I (like many others) won’t buy the ‘bullshit’ (forgive my language) of breaking the Computer Misuse Act of 2011.

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Kenneth is currently a Mass Communication student at St Lawrence University. He holds a certificate in History and Literature. He is a social political critique, good creative writer and a poet.
  • Gold Ruyondo

    The government has warn a battle but will lose a war