Free Dr. Stella Nyanzi
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We the undersigned, in global solidarity, express our indignation at and resistance to the political oppression by the Ugandan Government of Dr. Stella Nyanzi for exercising her constitutional right to critique the state of Uganda. Dr. Stella Nyanzi is a distinguished scholar, feminist, activist and writer who has consistently worked on the side of the marginalized in society.
Dr. Stella Nyanzi initiated a campaign to distribute sanitary products to schoolgirls in need. This was in response to the declaration by the Minister of Education, who is also the President’s wife, Janet Museveni, that budgetary allocations could not be made for this provision, despite earlier political assurances to do so.
A number of injustices have been visited upon the person of Dr. Nyanzi:
1. Blockage of a research trip to Amsterdam. This violates her freedom of movement and right to work.
2. Suspension from Makerere University on March 31 2017 without due process on allegations of inflammatory speech. This not only impinged on Dr. Nyanzi’s right to freedom of expression but insidiously invalidated a foundational principle guaranteed by the institution of the university; academic freedom.
3. Abduction on April 7 2017 after a Rotary Club Event and subsequent illegal arrest by state agents, violating her rights to equal protection under Ugandan Law.
4. Unfounded insinuation by state discursive machines that Dr. Nyanzi is mentally unstable. If expressing outrage against the normalization of oppression is insanity, then insanity should be proclaimed a redemptive practice.
5. Restraining Dr. Nyanzi in remand for over two weeks on baseless accusations based on imperial laws that seek to silence dissent.
We therefore condemn in the strongest terms possible, the continued acts of intimidation by the government of Uganda aimed at silencing Dr. Nyanzi’s voice which is representative of the popular voice seeking for justice and political accountability.
In concrete terms, we demand:
- The immediate release of Dr. Stella Nyanzi from Luzira Prison;
- The state to desist from intimidating and harassing Dr. Nyanzi and the members of her family;
- The immediate reinstatement of Dr. Nyanzi into the Makerere University and an investigation into the illegal processes that led to Dr. Nyanzi’s suspension from the university;
- That Makerere University commits to effectively ensuring that freedoms that form its very academic basis are not eroded.
Finally, we urge all believers of social justice and a democratic Uganda to stand by Dr. Stella Nyanzi in defence of her freedom, and not just hers but their own freedoms.
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