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Ugandan Activists Now Want Computer Misuse Act Reviewed To Save Many From Museveni’s ‘Oppressive Rule’

Ugandan activist Stella Nyanzi and president Yoweri Museveni [Courtesy]

Weeks after Ugandan activist Stella Nyanzi was convicted for cyber harassment, details of another woman facing similar charges have emerged.

The former Makerere University lecturer was slapped with 18 months in prison on August 2 for referring to President Yoweri Museveni as a  “pair of buttocks.”

Buganda Road Court Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu Musenze, however, acquitted her the offensive communication charge, a decision the state is opposed to and has since launched an appeal at the High Court.

Susan Namata, a woman who according to reports share similar radical views as Nyanzi, was arrested on August 27, 2018, charged and remanded to Luzira prison on charges relating to insulting President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

According to a charge sheet seen by Kahawa Tungu, the 21-year-old was charged with Cyber Harassment contrary to section 24(1) (2) of the computer Misuse Act of 2011.

On the second account, Namata was charged with offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the computer misuse act of 2011.

Read: Uganda Authorities Appeal Against Stella Nyanzi’s Acquittal On Offensive Communication Charge

It’s alleged that in 2018, Namata and others in Kampala and Wakiso districts, during protests to free the Kyandondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka “Bobi Wine from Makindye Military police barracks, used a computer to record and transmit videos in which they referred to President Museveni as “Buttocks, Faeces and also threatened to throw their genitals in his teeth if he doesn’t order for Bobi Wine’s release.

The accused willfully and repeatedly used electronic communication to transmit the videos via WhatsApp which according to the prosecution disturbed the peace and privacy of President Museveni.

After spending two nights in prison, Namata was admitted on USh600, 000 bail (Ksh16,806).

She was represented by her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde.

According to activist groups in Uganda, Museveni has used the Computer and Misuse Act of 2011 to harass those opposed to his administration.

Read Also: Ugandan Activist Stella Nyanzi Appeals Against ‘Unfair Conviction, Sentence’

“The president of Uganda has become the number one beneficiary of the computer misuse act, ” Rosebell Kagumire says.

The activists, who now fear that Namata might suffer the same fate as Nyanzi, supports the latter’s recent appeal of her conviction and sentence hoping that it will help people like Namata from what they term the oppressive rule of Museveni.

In her appeal filed at the High Court, Nyanzi argues that the court did not have the jurisdiction and that she allowed the charge that was incurably defective, unacceptably vague and barred by law.

According to reports by the Daily Monitor, the activist now wants the conviction quashed and the punishment set aside on grounds that the magistrate passed an illegal and unproportionate sentence.

“That the learned trial magistrate erred in law and fact when she failed to accord to the appellant the necessary facilities to compel the attendance of witnesses, and thereby infringed on the appellant’s right to a fair hearing,” the Ugandan media quotes court document.

Read Also: Ugandan Activist Stella Nyanzi Decries Mistreatment After Undressing In Court

The activists are now calling for Ugandans to stand up and fight injustice in Uganda.

“It’s clear the computer misuse act must go and be reviewed to better protect those who need this online protection. Dr Nyanzi’s appeal is so important for cases like Namata’s. Still hoping the High Court does quash her conviction and sentence. #FreeStellaNyanzi, ” Kagumire added.

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Written by Wycliffe Nyamasege


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