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Stella Nyanzi posts disgusting - witness

By Farooq Kasule

Added 17th June 2019 07:03 PM

Prosecution alleges that she posted indecent words on her Facebook page against the President and his late mother

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Dr Stella Nyanzi pictured in the dock at Buganda Road Court in January. Photo by Wilfred Sanya

Prosecution alleges that she posted indecent words on her Facebook page against the President and his late mother

City lawyer Charles Dalton Opwonya has described Stella Nyanzi posts as disgusting, unacceptable and shameful.

Opwonya made the remarks while testifying as a prosecution witness in the case in which Nyanzi is accused of indecent communication against President Yoweri Museveni on Monday.

“I was an admirer of Nyanzi’s poetic style of writing but I was shocked on September 21, 2018, to find an obscene post on her wall,” Opwonya testified.

Opwonya, also a senior advocate, told the court that he got to know Nyanzi when she stripped naked over a conflict with her former boss at Makerere University, Mahmood Mamdani, in 2016.

The veteran lawyer, who testified in the matter as a member of the pornographic control committee of the Uganda Law Society implored Nyanzi to refrain from obscene and vulgar posts, noting that they are not good for public consumption and against the Buganda culture to the best of his knowledge.

“Your Worship, her poem was so disgusting and annoying to all my connections on the internet and all the people I talked too generally. Even when I would start narrating to them, they could not listen to me,” Opwonya said.

However, Opwonya gave unsworn evidence in court, saying that swearing using the Bible is a sin.

Opwonya explained that he tried to read the comments on the contested post but the reactions were negative. He told the court that Nyanzi's posts are unethical and lack integrity. 

Nyanzi, represented by her lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde, kept on laughing as Opwonya gave evidence before Grade One Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu.

The case was adjourned to June 18 for further hearing.

Nyanzi who has been on remand since November 2018 was further remanded until then.

Prior to that, Police officer Bill Ndyamuhaki, attached to Police's cyber-crime directorate denied hacking into Nyanzi’s Facebook and Yahoo accounts. 

The defence had accused him of hacking into Nyanzi’s account without a court order contrary to the law regarding privacy.

However, Ndyamuhaki told the court that he only attempted to access the accounts but denied being successful.

When asked by senior state attorney, Janat Kitimbo, why he did not request Facebook to give him detail about Nyanzi’s page instead of attempting to hack into it, he said, “I did not because I had ever sent them requesting for the same in 2016 but they never replied to me to date.”

Ndyamuhaki also intimated to court that Nyanzi allegedly kept on making further posts despite being on remand.

The charge

The prosecution alleges that on September 16, 2016, Nyanzi posted indecent words on her Facebook page against the President and his late mother Esteri Kokundeka.

According to the state, the said posts were intended to disturb their peace and right to privacy.

On April 10, 2017, Nyanzi was charged in the same court with the same offences but her trial never kicked off.

The law

Under the law, any person who willfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both.

In regard to Cyber Harassment, a person who willfully, maliciously and repeatedly uses electronic communication to harass another person and makes a threat with the intent to place that person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or to a member of that person’s immediate family commits the crime of cyberstalking and is liable to a fine or imprisonment term not exceeding five years or both.

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