Ugandan feminist, Stella Nyanzi has been in Luzira Women’s Prison for eight months and is on trial after posting a poem on Facebook.
What We Know:
- The former Makerere University researcher was accused of offensive communication and cyber harassment against Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni after writing a poem that used a graphic description of his birth and his mother’s vagina as a way to criticize his “oppression, suppression and repression” of the country, CNN reported. According to the state, the poem, published last September, was intended to disturb their peace and right to privacy.
- In early June, Nyanzi’s legal team pushed for her immediate release but the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate Court judgment went against her. She remains in jail and will present her defense this week. Nyanzi asked the court to summon 20 defense witnesses, including President Museveni.
- Nyanzi was already known as an African feminist, but this provocative poem catapulted her into the spotlight in Uganda. “Yoweri, they say it was your birthday yesterday. How horrifically cancerous a day!” reads part of the poem. The language used in the poem is jarring, but Nyanzi claims it is the only way people will listen.
- “Politeness has been taken, it’s been held captive, and they don’t listen anymore. So sometimes all you have to say is ‘f*** it!'” Nyanzi said about the Ugandan government, slamming down her fist. “And then people will hear and take you seriously.”
Nyanzi is currently battling three other legal cases: another “cyber harassment and offensive communication” trial for a poem calling Museveni a “pair of buttocks,” which she took bail for; a civil dispute with Makerere University, who dismissed her for staging a naked protest; and a case disputing the fact she is on Uganda’s “no-fly” list because of her critical Facebook commentary.