Court orders MUK to compensate Nyanzi

By Sania Babirye

Makerere University has been ordered to pay costs to its jailed researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi after the university failed to file on time a response to her application against the University for refusing to re-instate her at her job.

The order has been issued by high court judge Lydia Mugambe after justice Mugambe dismissed submissions by university lawyer Hudson Musoke that he failed to file its written response because he was not notified in time.

The case had come up for hearing, however this could not go on because Hudson claimed to have been notified only yesyerday about the application giving him not enough time to file his written response.

But when she checked the court records, the judge discovered that indeed the university was served on the 20th of November 2018 .

As a result, justice Mugambe ordered Makerere to compesate Dr.Nyanzi for denying her a right to a speed trial and justice.

Mugambe further issued summons to the Director of Human Resource at Makerere to be cross examined on the evidence he tendered in his sworn affidavit opposing Nyanzi’s application.

In October this year , Makerere University’s appeal tribunal lifted her suspension and directed that she be be re-instated with all salary arrears paid and promoted to the level of a Fellow Researcher with immediate effect.

However , Makerere University did not honor the directives causing Dr.Nyanzi to sue the university.

Nyanzi is currently on remand at Luzira government prison on fresh charges of posting obscene birthday poem on Facebook where she attacked president M7 and his late mother and she has also refused to seek bail despite the judge advising her to do so .

The case has now been adjourned to the 9th of January 2019 for hearing.

Stella Nyanzi further remanded as court hearing flops

By Sania Babirye

Hearing of a cyber harassment case against a Makerere University Researcher Dr. Stellah Nyanzi has flopped again at Buganda Road court.

Dr.Nyanzi had returned today in hopes of state commencing her trial, however this could not go on because the trial magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu was not around although prosecution had earlier informed court that investigations are still on going complete with witnesses ready to testfy against her.

Some of the politicians who came to show support to the Dr.Nyanzi included opposition party, FDC’s presidential candidate Kizza Besigye.

She has now further been remanded to Luzira prison by grade one magistrate Robert Mukanza until the 19th if this month when her trial judge will be present.

Dr.Nyanzi is at Luzira prison after refusing to seek bail and she is facing charges including attacking the privacy of President Museveni and that of his late mother , Esteri Kokundeka.

Prosecution states that while armed with a motive to disturb the peace of President Museveni, Nyanzi posted obscene messages on her official face book page(Stellah Nyanzi) while attacking the privacy of the President .

Stella Nyanzi wants her case dismissed

Makerere university researcher, Stella Nyanzi has asked court to order the Director of Public Prosecution to try her  case or  have it dismissed.

This is after Prosecution  led by Jonathan Muwaganya today  informed  court that although the case had come up  for mention , they want to wait until the constitutional court pronounced itself on Dr.Nyanzi’s  Mental treatment act  application pending in the constitutional court because it has a large  bearing on the case trial.

However Dr.Nyanzi’s lawyer Peter Walubiri has told court that the mental treatment application which his client petitioned challenging state against examining her head has no bearing on the criminal case hearing unless state’s aim is only  to declare Dr.Nyanzi Mad but not try her over the alleged computer misuse charges.

Walubiri further says that the delay in prosecution is affecting his client’s  finances because she continues to appear in court while state keeps on asking for adjournments.

This has forced Buganda road court chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda to order prosecution to consult the Director of Public Prosecution on when Dr.Nyanzi’s criminal case trial should begin.

The  case has been adjourned to the   21 of August 2017.

Prosecution States that between January and March 2017 at  Kampala district,  Nyanzi while having no legitimate purpose of communication posted on her Facebook page suggestions and proposals referring to his Excellency president Museveni  that he is a pair of buttocks.

If further alleged that Nyanzi  willfully and repeatedly using electronic communication posted offensive messages via Facebook with an intention of disturbing peace and the privacy of president Museveni.

State prosecutor demands cancellation of Stella Nyanzi’s bail

By Sania Babirye

State prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya has asked Buganda road court to cancel the bail application of the 42 year old  Controversial Makerere university researcher Dr.Stella Nyanzi. He accuses her of breaching one of bail  conditions by attacking state prosecutor in the case via her Facebook page.

This morning Muwaganya  read a face book post that Dr. Nyanzi allegedly wrote on her Facebook page claiming that members of the bar wore unfitting Chinese coats.

Muwaganya states that any attack  on the  members of the bar is an attack on the trial court which needed immediate redress through cancelling Dr.Nyanzi’s  bail or setting more tough bail conditions.

Muwaganya says that state lawyers cannot proceed with the case under such situation where Dr.Nyanzi is continuously attacking them for doing their job.

Although court bared Dr.Nyanzi from writing or discussing any matter related to case as one of her bail conditions Dr. Nyanzi was angered on Wednesday after state prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya told court that he was not officially served Dr.Nyanzi’s application in which she is seeking a stay of proceedings of the case until her constitution petition in which she is challenging the mental treatment act is heard and disposed.

Chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda  has however reserved the ruling on the matter until he determines  the mental examination application.

Stella Nyanzi’s lawyers challenge demand for mental examination

By Babirye Sania

Makerere Researcher Dr. Stella Nyanzi charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication all related to computer misuse has taken her Mental examination battle to the constitutional court.

Dr.Stella Nyanzi has filed a constitutional petition against the attorney general challenging various sections of the mental treatment  act  as being unconstitutional.

Dr.Stella Nyanzi’s lawyers led by Peter Walubiri told Buganda road court chief magistrate James Eremye Mawanda this morning  that the1938 law is not  in line with the the Uganda constitutional enacted in 1995.

Walubiru says they are Challenging various sections of the mental treatment act that violates her rights to a fair trial, inhumane treatment, and to be accorded  administrative fairness.

Walubiri has also told court that they have followed up the constitution petition with  an application in Buganda road court  to stay the Inquiry under the mental treatment act seeking to determine if Dr.Stella Nyanzi  is of sound mind or not.

In this application they want magistrate Mawanda to determine if the proceedings under the mental treatment act should continue or be stayed while the law is being challenged in the constitutional court.

The magistrate has now set the 7th of June to hear the application for stay of proceedings.

Prosecution States that between January and March 2017 at  Kampala district,  Nyanzi while having no legitimate purpose of communication posted on her Facebook page suggestions and proposals referring to his Excellency president Museveni  that he is a pair of buttocks.

If further alleged that Nyanzi  willfully and repeatedly using electronic communication posted offensive messages via Facebook with an intention of disturbing peace and the privacy of president Museveni.

Education minister, Janet Museveni urges NGOs to involve ministry in pads distribution campaign

Education and Sports Minister, Janet Museveni has expressed reservations about Non-Governmental Organisations-NGOs spearheading the distribution of sanitary pads to school children without involving the ministry.

She was responding to suggestions by the Education Committee Chaired by Connie Nakayenze Galiwango, the Mbale Woman MP on the need for the Education Ministry to regulate the distribution of sanitary pads to school children.

The Committee members expressed concern that NGOs distributing the sanitary pads to children deal directly with school without involving the ministry. According to the Education minister, although not many NGOs are involved in the free sanitary pads distribution exercise, there is need for the ministry to be involved to ensure the pads are appropriate for children.

The Education Committee members including Allan Ssewanyana, the Makindye West MP, Moses Kasibante, Rubaga North and Joseph Ssewungu, Kalungu West demanded an explanation from the Education Minister why the provision of free sanitary pads to girls remains unfunded in the 2017/2018 financial year budget.

Ssewanyana asked the Minister to state the government position on the free sanitary pad distribution, saying it has generated public anxiety. Kasibante appealed to the Education Ministry not to discourage those involved in free sanitary pads distribution, since government has failed to honor its pledge.

In her response, the first lady noted that although she is aware of the importance of the sanitary pads to the girl child, many areas in the Education sector remain unfunded because of budgetary constraints.

The jailed Makerere University Research fellow, Dr. Stella Nyanzi kick started the free sanitary pad distribution to schools after government backtracked on its promise to provide pads to school children citing lack of money.

During his 2016 re-election campaigns, president, Yoweri Museveni pledged to provide free sanitary pads to school children as one of the ways to boost girl child education. The free sanitary pad distribution exercise was expected to start in the new financial year. However, the Education Ministry backtracked on the promise, saying there is no money.

This prompted Dr. Nyanzi to kick start a campaign under the theme “Pads-For-Girl-Child Uganda” to fundraise money to buy pads and distribute them to schools. The campaign attracted several people including women rights activists and NGOs, which saw the distribution of re-usable and disposable sanitary pads to various school girls.




Stella Nyanzi sent back to jail

Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi has been sent back to Luzira by Buganda Road Magistrate Court pending an application for the revision of her case filed in the high court by her lawyers.

Lawyer Nicholas Opiyo asked for an adjournment of the case pending determination of their application seeking to block a planned psychiatric examination against Dr Stella Nyanzi. The mental examinations were sought by the state during Nyanzi’s maiden appearance before the magistrate’s court early this month.

Nyanzi is charged with two counts of cyber harassment and offensive communication contrary to provisions of the Computer Misuse Act. Nyanzi was also charged with using the internet to disturb the peace and right to privacy of the president.

Prosecution alleges that Stella Nyanzi used her social media pages to refer to President Yoweri Museveni as “a pair of buttocks.” She denied the charges but told court that she always writes ‘metaphorically’ to deliver messages to ‘those in power’.

In reference to her vulgar and erotic posts, prosecutor Jonathan Muwaganya filed an application on April 10, asking court to order that Nyanzi is subjected to a psychiatric examination. Muwaganya told court that Nyanzi has a history of erratic psychiatric disorder and was once a patient at Butabika Hospital. The application was based on the affidavit by SP Mboniva Emmanuel, one of the police officers investigating Nyanzi’s case.

But her lawyers rushed to the High Court to challenge the request saying that the state wants to use the mental test to declare Nyanzi an idiot and send her to a mental health facility. Lawyer Opiyo told court that the defense team hoped the high court application would be heard before today’s appearance. However, High Court has set tomorrow as the hearing date for the application.

Opiyo said that the state’s application was brought in bad faith and with utmost act of ambush to deny them an appropriate response. He said they need time to respond to all arguments raised by the state in its application for mental health examination. He also argued that the defense team received a copy of the application after arriving at the court.

Presiding Magistrate James Eremye said Nyanzi was sent back to Luzira on the request of her defense team.

Nyanzi had recently taken up a campaign code-named ‘Pads for Girls’ in which she castigated government for failing to fulfill its commitment to provide sanitary pads to all schoolgirls. The provision was part of President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign pledges ahead of the 2016 general election.




Arresting Nyanzi serves no legitimate purpose -Amnesty International

Amnesty International has condemned the arrest and prosecution of Makerere University research fellow Dr Stella Nyanzi.

Dr Nyanzi was  on Monday, charged with offensive communication and cyber harassment in relation to her Facebook posts attacking the government. In one of posts, the basis of  charges, she called the president a “pair of buttocks”. She was remanded to Luzira prison for two weeks to allow her lawyers time to file a defence in regard to state prosecution’s application that her mental health be examined.

Dr Nyanzi denied the two charges which are contrary to sections 24 (1)(2)(a) and 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011.

Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes region in a statement released today evening said government should drop all charges and unconditionally release Dr Nyanzi.

“Arresting (Dr Stella) Nyanzi simply for criticising the President and his wife serves no legitimate purpose. The state should stop wasting resources on pointless and politically-motivated prosecutions, immediately drop all charges against her and release her unconditionally,” she said. “The Authorities must also immediately revoke the Computer Misuse Act, and respect, protect, promote and fulfill the right to freedom of expression of all Ugandans.”

The controversial researcher has been using obscenity in her writing on her Facebook account criticizing President Museveni and her wife Janet Museveni for failure to provide sanitary pads to school going girls as promised during last year’s presidential campaigns. She was arrested on Friday evening from Mackinnon Suites Hotel in Nakasero after speaking at a Rotary Club event.

Muthoni noted that “lack of sanitary towels is one of the leading causes of girls dropping out of school in Uganda.” She argued that Dr Nyanzi has led a campaign to ensure girls continue to attend school with dignity during their periods but is being harassed, intimidated and arrested instead of commending her.

She noted that her prosecution violates Uganda’s obligations regarding the right to freedom of expression as enshrined in the Constitution and other regional as well as international human rights law.




Stella Nyanzi’s lawyer says Makerere charges are inconsistent with freedom of expression

Isaac Ssekamadde, the Lawyer of Makerere University Research Fellow, Dr. Stella Nyanzi has written to the university to drop the disciplinary proceedings against his client. In an April 5th letter to Mary Tizikara, the Human Resource Director Makerere University, Ssekamadde argues that the charges slapped against Nyanzi are inconsistent with the freedom of expression guaranteed in the constitution of Uganda.

“We urge you once more to immediately terminate those so called disciplinary proceedings and make the necessary arrangements to give our client sufficient reparations for inconvenience and injury so far caused to her,” the letter reads in part. Adding that, “let it be stated once more that the charges framed against our client relating to her alleged social media comments are inconsistent with her right to freedom of expression and other constitutional imperatives, including academic freedom in the 2011 public universities and other tertiary institutions act.”

He contends that by attempting to suppress Dr. Nyanzi’s free speech through the ungazetted university human resource manual as well as the unjustified warning and suspension, the appointments board has failed to appreciate her freedom expression. Ssekamadde warns the university to “cease and desist not only from acting like the thought police in a tyrannical regime but also from the misguided campaign of harassment, intimidation and victimization of Dr. Nyanzi through endless disciplinary proceedings.”

Fresh trouble for Dr. Nyanzi started last week when she posted a strongly worded message on her Facebook wall criticizing First lady and Education Minister, Janet Museveni for failing to prevail over government to provide sanitary towels for girls in school. As a result, Prof Ddumba Ssentamu, the Makerere University Vice Chancellor suspended Dr. Nyanzi on recommendation from the appointments board.

In his letter, Bruce Kabasa, the Chairman, Makerere University board noted that Dr. Nyanzi had “continued to use social media to violate Section 5.7.7 of the Makerere University Human Resource Manual 2009. It’s particularly regrettable that Dr. Nyanzi has made it a habit to insult, dehumanise and castigate the line Minister of Education and Sports under whose docket Makerere University’s supervision falls.”

Section 5.7.7 of the Makerere University Human Resource Manual lists offences that constitute misconduct including use of abusive or insulting language. Mary Tizikara, the Human Resource Director Makerere University couldn’t be reached for comment. But the Vice Chancellor, Prof Ddumba confirmed receiving the letter.

“The letter has been written to the university human resource director but I have received a copy. Regarding its content, I have no comment now because it (letter) will be discussed by the university appointments’ board.” Dr. Stella Nyanzi isn’t new to controversy. In April last year, Dr.Nyanzi clashed with Professor Mahmood Mamdani, the Director Makerere Institute for Social Research leading to her suspension.

It all started after Prof. Mamdani directed Dr. Nyanzi to vacate her office for alleged failure to meet her contractual obligations.




Stella Nyanzi Back at Makerere University, management making consultations about her placement

Controversial lecturer Dr Stella Nyanzi returns to Makerere University today following a decision by the university appointments board to formally end her suspension.

Today morning, Dr Nyanzi posted on Facebook; “…this is my deadline for reporting back to Makerere University.” The university management says Dr Nyanzi will not return to Makerere Institute of Social Research (MISR) where she worked as a fellow before her suspension in April last year, but they are yet to find placement for her.

The appointments board chairperson Bruce Kabasa said Dr Nyanzi will be posted in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences (CHUSS) but they are still “making consultations.”

“The principle to bring her back has been agreed but the posting is still being discussed. What is clear, she is transferred from MISR but where she is going, we are still discussing,” Kabasa said.

Dr Nyanzi was suspended from Makerere University Institute of Social Research in April last year after she staged a nude protest.  She was protesting a decision by the institute’s director Prof Mahmood Mamdani to lock her out of office.

Dr Nyanzi and Prof Mamdani’s disagreement stemmed from the former’s refusal to teach the institute’s PhD students and participating in research projects. After her suspension, the university appointment’s board instituted a committee chaired by Ms Sharifah Bukenzi, assistant commissioner, human resource management at the Ministry of Public Service to probe among others the disagreement between the two dons.

The committee observed that Dr Nyanzi’s refusal to take up the teaching role assigned to her by the director MISR was in breach of the terms of her appointment which “she accepted in writing and therefore an act of insubordination.” It recommended that Dr Nyanzi be subjected to a disciplinary action.

Kabasa said she was supposed to serve a six-month suspension which elapsed in October but the university appointments board did not expeditiously decide her fate due inconveniences caused by the November – January closure of the university.

The committee that investigated MISR crisis also noted that Dr Nyanzi was erroneously given a permanent position as a research fellow which is a contractual job. It recommended that the university human resource director make a submission to appointments board requesting for rescinding of a decision that confirmed her as a Makerere University permanent staff.

But Kabasa said her permanent job appointment has not been canceled. He explained; “She resumes on her old contract. She has a permanent job which was erroneously given her; it was not her mistake. She just benefited from mistakes of the university management.”

Dr Nyanzi was confirmed in university service by the Appointments Board at its meeting of 28th October, 2013 on a five-year permanent contract.

Though Dr Nyanzi claims Makerere University is refunding her salary that was “illegally deducted” from her during the suspension, Kabasa said the university will only pay the money for the months after October 2016 when the suspension ended.

“We shall pay for the period beyond  sixmonths. When a staff is serving a suspension, he or she receives half pay,” he said.