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Stella Nyanzi, 4 Others Arrested over Food Protest

The Police Spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Area, Luke Owoyesigyire, says that the group is currently detained at Central Police Station on charges of inciting violence.
One of the Placards that the Activists had
Controversial feminist Dr Stella Nyanzi was on Monday morning arrested alongside four other people for protesting against what they described as a slow distribution of food and human rights abuses. 

Others arrested include events promoter Andrew Mukasa alias Bajjo, Shallon Kemigisha, Badru Kasule and John Bosco Serunkuma. They were arrested near Buganda Road Court.

The protestors held placards reading, "Children are hungry”, "Stop the lockdown oba tuffa tuffe, We want food."

The Police Spokesperson for Kampala Metropolitan Area, Luke Owoyesigyire, says that the group is currently detained at Central Police Station on charges of inciting violence.

Nyanzi was carrying a petition to the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda, protesting against what she called the continued human rights abuses by security agencies enforcing the Presidential COVID-19 directives and failure by the government to distribute food to several vulnerable people.

 "Hunger and anger have spiked countrywide causing frightening levels of domestic violence and suicide, whereby women are the major victims. As women, we demand to return to work,” reads the petition in part.  

They demanded that the government distribute relief food to all Ugandans, lift the lockdown and adjust curfew time from 7pm 9pm, repatriate Ugandans stuck abroad and release suspects arrested for violating the COVID-19 directives. 

The police and Local Defence Unit-LDU personnel have come under criticism for brutality especially while enforcing the curfew in different parts of the country.

Last week, Bajjo petitioned the High Court Civil Division seeking an order compelling government to distribute food to all citizens in the country.

Nyanzi’s lawyer Isaac Ssemakadde says that there's no legitimate basis for the arrest of the protestors. He says that government should respect the right to protest during a pandemic.

Dr. Nyanzi was in February released from prison after High Court quashed an 18-month sentence for insulting the president. Last year, she has been found guilty of cyber harassment of President Museveni after she wrote a poem about the president’s mother’s private parts.   In the High Court, however, Justice Henry Peter Adonyo ruled that the lower court had denied Nyanzi the right to identify, prepare and call defence witnesses.

Uganda went into a phased lockdown in March with the government instituting a number of measures to stem the spread of Coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. From March 20 when Uganda registered its first case of COVID-19, the number of people who have tested positive to the virus has since risen to 248. Sixty-three of these have since recovered from the virus which has claimed the lives of more than 315,000 people globally.

President Yoweri Museveni is expected to address the country on Monday night as the second extension to the lockdown comes to an end.