Bambi Nyanzi

Stella Nyanzi is still held. Much as i don’t condone her utterances, i abhor her incarceration.
She has rights, and her rights should be respected.
In a country like Uganda where everything has been gazetted for a select few, rights should be all that we have left but, do we?


Well, what to do!

Plug in ear phones and… Renegades ~ X Ambassadors


Run away-ay with me
Lost souls in revelry
Running wild and running free
Two of us, you and me
All it takes to make one last stand.

And I say
Hey, hey hey hey
See us living like we’re renegades

Long live the pioneers
Rebels and mutineers
Go forth and have no fear
Come close and lend an ear
#FreeNyanzi #FreeUsAll

All hail the underdogs
All hail the peasants
All hail the outlaws
The proletariat and the ‘less than thats’.

It’s our time to make a move
It’s our time to make amends
It’s our time to break the rules
Let’s begin…

And I say
Hey, hey hey hey
To hell with living like we’re renegades.


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Let People Be

One thing has been on my mind all day: France
Which hauled another to my mind: Saudi Arabia

Imagine, you pay tax, buy your own clothes, are a loyal citizen and a patriot at that.
Imagine, you pay respect to the laws of the land, all laws but one.
One law that leaves you feeling like property, like used property, like trash.
One law that leaves you wondering if you aren’t or why you aren’t treated like others.
Let’s say one Saturday afternoon after a busy week before, and a busy Friday night, you hit the beach.
Let’s say you are having the time of your life, caressing the waves, taking in the breeze and so is everyone else.
Then you feel someone tap your shoulder, you turn around and it’s two men, two uniformed men. You wonder if you know them.
Then you it hits you, they are supposed to protect you but they aren’t. They are about to undress you.
Undress you of your own clothes, bought with your own money. At a beach, entrance paid by you with your own money.
Undress you isn’t where they stop. You’re fined as well. Of your money.
It hits you. You pay the uniformed men from your tax, to undress you, humiliate you and you tip them for that.
It hits you, you can’t escape from mistreatment. You can’t escape from oppression. Saudi Arabia is following you.

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Once again it’s happening. No one cares about what you want, what you feel. It’s about them not you.
Once again, you are being forced to do what you don’t want to do because of the Law.

In Saudi Arabia you were fined daily for not wearing the perfect Abaya, for showing your ankles.
In Saudi Arabia you were treated as property, you were not alive, you weren’t allowed to live.
You had to move with a male to move at all; a He, was your third leg. It was like that. It just was
You had to keep quiet when visitors were around, for your opinion was as a good as a dog’s.
That car you could drive, you weren’t permitted to own.
That job you could work at, you aren’t allowed.
It turns out you can’t open a bank account, you need a man’s assistance. Much as you want and can.
It turns out you can’t shake a man’s hand after a meeting, if the meeting is permitted in the first place.
A male chaperone becomes her chagrin. With the invisible leash.

Ever wondered why some people become activists, that’s why. Ever wondered why some people become feminists, that’s why.
Ever wondered why some people are angry about such issues! Stop wondering, unfairness angers.
Let people be angry at issues that they are passionate about. Issues that affect them. Just let people be.

[#UGBlogWeek Day 2]: Life is the biggest School.

Imagine if you’d never enrolled into School? Where would you be now? What would you be?
Do you ever look back, and deliberate; hear you think, ‘School made me no better!
No better than you come. Than you are.

Yes, they woke us up at 5am in the morning to prepare for School, yes we peed in our pants and on the beds at Siesta time. We were young.
Alright, homework exhausted us so much. Only the dog would be happy with our homework. For reasons it never told me.
I know we saw neither sunrise, for it’d find us at school; nor sunset, for we’d be fast asleep after a smacking from the Mum or the maid to sleep after school.
I know we never ate breakfast properly for we had to rush to beat traffic jam. I know we never beat the traffic jam either way even. It wasn’t fair.

But I also know School helped us learn quickly, grasp every life hack, make friends, enhance our vocabulary. It helped us learn how to relate, socialise and most importantly how to play.
Up and down, on the See-Saw we played, round and round the Hoopla kissed our hips, we swung back and forth on that swing like Tarzan.
And then the bouncing castles, Lego, ballet and mostly the Tyre. Many a boy enjoyed that Moto GP like one-wheeler with sticks as handles and cow dung as grease, as fuel, as oil. You wouldn’t want to hit a pothole lest you swallow shit.

Imagine you hadn’t gone to School, not like home tutored but never stepped into school, never to be taught a thing. Who would you be? What would you be? I can’t imagine that.

I know School came with Kiboko (canes) as we grew up, with teachers drowning their sorrows on our sorry buttocks. It wasn’t fair, we didn’t deserve that smacking. Did we? I mean they could have talked to us nicely and we’d have hid their call.
That’s the biggest lie we told ourselves and continue to. Spare the rod and spoil the child.
And you know some of us came in all types, Naughty, Mild Naughty, Super Naughty and Possessed Naughty.
For us the latter, they had to exorcise those demons at whatever cost. They occasionally told me not to take it personal, they were not giving me a beating at that; but the devil inside.
And school had the most complicated, rather dedicated human beings; for that, spanking little children.

Amid the canes, the numerous books to read, the growing up, sibling fights and the hate towards the opposite sex.
School wasn’t bad. It was fun, well except when made to sit between two girls as a boy or the other way round; it was fun regardless.
We are a product of nature and nurture and the years before the moment we join Secondary School, determine the School you go to.
Generalisations are never wrong, people with the same traits tend to cocoon together. See even birds of the same feather flock together.

Now kids with the same number of canes consumed in elementary school, find themselves in the same school. You passed or you didn’t. You were caned or you weren’t. There is always a correlation there somewhere. So be happy you were caned straight into Gayaza, Ntare, Smack and all the traditional schools and that childhood friend found herself caressed into Hillside, Taibah, the Kitendes and International Schools out there. Traditional schools always enrolled those with the most cane medals. Again, generalizations.

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School becomes an open book. The book becomes life. And you start learning. And learn you do.
Life begins taking shape and your body too, the school fuses its values, culture into you. And you fuse the rest into you. Curiosity, adventure fueled by a transforming body and developing emotions lead you to a path. Hormones open up multiple paths.
You write your first love letter, you get your first kiss perhaps. Numerous heartbreaks and multiple hard-ons.
You begin making discoveries, you’re like the Pilgrim Fathers at this point. Your dick can spit, your clit can swell, and you get your first goose bumps, the goose bumps that come with hardened nipples and strange sensations, you’ve growing.

You begin metamorphosing and your school is the hammer that shapes your sword.
Depending on what school, you become something, head of this club; president of the other. Interact Club, Rotaract Club, Scouts and Guides and all.
You become something, some pick and choose who to be, what to identify as at this stage. You feel like the Alchemist, you get your nature mix with your nurture shake hard and find out the PH value.
You start liking girls, much as you are a girl too. And more girls in your school love girls too. Your school gets an Identity, as the Girl on Girl School.
Your school isn’t making you any better, and you aren’t making your school any better. Or any worse at that. You are just a product of circumstances.

You are who you are, more like who you want to be and what you have become. But it’s who you are, who you’ve discovered yourself to be. And your school has aided you in a way or the other. The exposure you’ve got isn’t the same as that others have got.
The first principles of Adult life are instilled and cemented in High School, College. You put meaning to who you are. You start learning what you are.
Are you a boy smooth with girls? A girl who loves the company of boys? Are you a loner? Introvert, extrovert? This, that?

Vacation comes in time to deny you some things and to increase your thirst for the very things and more.
Vacation balances the Demand and Supply curve. Vacation points you to one place, adulthood.

University. Nothing much goes on here in terms of learning, it’s the dormant stage in terms of Life as the biggest school that’s ever been.
You’re either too broke to chase what you want, or too busy to chase what you want.
You might party here, have fun there, and get born gain, but little changes about you. You learn nothing. It’s the John Snow stage of life.
You are already in the baby stages of Adulthood and Adults never learn. They live more and learn less.
School is as good as done soon as you graduate. On that day you look back cry for some as you give that speech, cut cake and possibly say; School made me no better, and this, my first degree is the end of School.

Life starts after you wear that gown. Work, Bills, Expectations, Aging and Deaths. Life.

UgBloc

#UGBlogWeek: Day IV. Freedom of Expression and Go!

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Let me just type away my opinion and go.

Social Media has overtaken the Bar in connecting people of different backgrounds. Not even the Church comes close.
With the bar, #JamrockThursdays:
You’ll make genuine connections, have the best of conversations and for those that do Quiz Nights; learn a thing or two. You’ll get to realise that you really don’t know much and have a lot to learn.
You’ll leave as learned as you’re tipsy. The bar is the perfect connections pot. 🍺🍺🍺
But not all of us frequent the bars in search for the bitter, happiness and one more stranger turned acquitance. 
Comes in Social Media.

I’ll only cover Twitter, Swarm[Foursquare] and Snapchat. The apps or forums I mostly use; apart from this app, WordPress.

Freedom of Expression and Social Media:
We are all given 140 characters, we are free to use them whichever way we want. Shakespeare didn’t invent the alphabet but rearranged the letters he had, to make the wonderful pieces he wrote.
We are to be Shakespeares in our own right or so we are made to believe the moment we get a text field.

With the 140, you write whatever comes to mind, whatever you feel like sharing; rants, observations, opinions, quotes, lyrics🎶, name it.
Be whatever you want to be; Influencer, BOT, troll, sex guru, motivational speaker or even Pablo.

See the thing is you’re free to write anything, you’re free to express yourself. You’ve got that ultimate Freedom of Expression with your precious 140.

And you type away. Say things you believe in, chat with people you want to, drop into people’s mentions, hit their DMs and wherever that leads.

That’s where human behavior comes in. The interactions made aren’t in a Vacuum, they involve other people; followers and followers of followers. Strangers and friends. Many people. Billions of people.

You’ll say things, and you’re totally free to say anything considering it’s with in the acceptable limits. *Leave Jews out of this. And don’t exploit minors.
Sad we never read the EULAs and the Terms and Conditions of any app/platform.

Then one day you say something you believe in, anything and you’re castigated by other people that don’t think or believe the same. Funny enough, they expect you to believe and accept what they say on the other hand.

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You’re homophobic and you’re branded an animal for that. But you strongly believe homosexuality is wrong. You were raised to believe so, your mum is a Catholic Nun, so…
They are homosexual and they believe it’s right. Love knows no barriers and everyone chooses to identify as whoever they want! 
And they want you to accept their beliefs, ditch yours and take up their beliefs. And you can’t say what you believe, only what they believe. Freedoms impinging on other Freedoms.

You’re a feminist and believe anyone who points out issues contrary to what you believe, is better off in hell and not in your mentions. If you think women should kneel, you’re less of a woman, self-defeating and saying things to please men. Much as you believe in equality, you’re the enemy, and deserve no seat at the table of womyn. “And don’t say another word, because you lack, intellectually.” You’re muted.

You believe your Soccer Team has the best manager, the best stadium, the best players and the best loos and whoever thinks otherwise should trip and fall out of your mentions. Or kindly see themselves out.

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You embark on the furnace journey to modor, you light a fire in your kiln and dish out blocks, you block this one and block the other. You unfollow and mute. But while doing this you don’t ever realize that another person could be doing exactly the same to you and others. And if each one blocked one. There would be no Social Media, that’d be more of Anti-Social Media.

You think that no one should have a right to be a fashionista, if they don’t have a DSLR Camera and a YouTube Channel. That their opinion and fashion sense is lacking if their Instagram has compact camera and android phone pics.

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You don’t realise that whatever story you choose to share on your snapchat, you’re free. Those cinema stories, the laptop series you’re watching, the sermons, voice notes and the stale jokes.
That whichever filter you choose. You have that freedom to express yourself, embrace it. And no one should set the standards and expect you to tag along.

That there’s Freedom of Expression and 7 billion people can’t have the same values, same views and the same lifestyle? You don’t get that.

Well, be yourself, share what you feel and mind no one. I know we all live for attention and those notifications we crave. It’s normal, it’s human. Share your posts and go.
Embrace the little freedom of expression you have.

Don’t self-censure, the government hates competition.

#UGBlogWeek: Day III. Freedom of Expression.

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Day 3 of the Freedom of Expression theme week. Well, my second post but more will be flowing in on a single day.
The last from the government viewpoint.

“Rights and Freedoms are inherent and not granted by the State”. By respecting and promoting the freedoms, the State is merely fulfilling its constitutional obligation and not doing anyone a favor.
The State shouldn’t hold citizens hostage with claims it “brought peace”, “brought back rights”. That is, if the State respects its citizenry.

Is Freedom an absolute concept? Or can it be relative and subjective?
Is it an all or nothing arrangement? You’re either free or you’re not, is it?

Freedom is not absolute. It is a relative and subjective concept. Freedom cannot be measured, the degree to which a person is or is not free can only be determined through comparison and that comparison is completely subjective.

Freedom is also a diverse concept. It can be applied to personal, social, political, economic, academic, and religious spheres. A violation in one or more areas does not negate freedoms in the others. Nor does freedom in some spheres excuse violations in others. We can’t look at freedom as black or white, whole or nothing concept.

Does that mean infringements won’t occur at the hands of the very government erected to protect our liberties? Of course not.

Sadly the country I live in, the continent I live in and to an extent the world we live in infringes alot on freedoms.
And my country Uganda has mastered the art of infringing on freedoms and getting away with it scot free.

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Bills have been passed, Acts signed. And the rights of a free man eroded.
Freedom of Expression has suffered the most with a great deal, if not all of the recent Acts of Law curtailing expression in general and dissent in particular

•The Anti-Terrorism Act (2002).
•The Regulation of Interception of Communications Act (2010).
•Uganda Communications Act 2012
•The Public Order Management Act, 2013
All these Acts have limitations on nearly all the Freedoms a Ugandan is meant to enjoy. And heavily infringe on Human Rights.

And incidents of mass abuse of rights have occurred in the light of day, most with impunity.

• In October 2014, Central Broadcasting Services (CBS) radio journalist Ronald Ssembuusi was convicted of criminal defamation over a 2011 story implying a connection between a former Kalangala district chairman and the theft of solar panels that the African Development Bank had donated. Ssembuusi was sentenced to pay a fine of 1 million shillings ($375) within a month, or serve one year in prison.

• Broadcast media regulations issued in March 2014 required all outlets to provide one free hour of prime air time per week to government officials so they could promote government policies and programs; however, the regulations have not been enforced.
Independent journalists and media outlets are often critical of the government, but in recent years they have faced substantial, escalating government restrictions and intimidation, encouraging self-censorship.
Journalists often face harassment or physical attacks by police or ordinary citizens while covering the news. And some are banned from covering certain events.

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• The restrictions on internet access, and online media. Social Media has been shut down, not once but twice in 2016. During the 2016 contested Elections, Social Media and Mobile Money Services were shutdown, effecting an order from the UCC citing security reasons.
It was once more shutdown in May 2016, on the day of the swearing in of the President. A trend that is sweeping through other despotic states in sub saharan Africa.

• The government has reportedly sought to increase surveillance of internet and mobile-phone communications in the context of antiterrorism campaigns, as permitted under the 2002 Antiterrorism Act and the 2010 Regulation of Interception of Communications Act. Under the latter, all mobile-phone users were required to register their SIM cards with the government by August 2013, after which unregistered cards were deactivated.
And earlier the revelations of the Operation Fungua Macho, an operation by security and spy agencies to spy on the prominent opposition figures and the talk of a plan to procure a pornography detection system left the country in disbelief.

• In March, police in eastern Uganda blocked two demonstrations organized by the opposition pushing for electoral reforms. Police claimed the politicians had not sought permission from the inspector general of police, as required under the new law. Eventually the rallies were permitted, but those seeking to protest against the current electoral laws often face unclear procedures and prolonged delays when seeking permissions.

• Former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi a presidential aspirant at the time was stopped from going to Mbale to consult his supporters and detained at Kiira Road Police Station till the sunset when he was released without caution or charge.

• In June 2015, two men were arrested for smuggling two pigs into parliament as a protest against high youth unemployment rates. The two were charged with criminal trespass and conspiracy.

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• In August 2015, police arrested 20 members of the Uganda National Students Association for holding a protest at the Ministry of Education, which police deemed to be an unlawful assembly. The same month, police arrested seven young men in Kampala who were peacefully demonstrating against unemployment.

• The closure of two newspapers and a radio station in 2013 and new ad-hoc policies introduced by the minister of information negatively impacted media’s operating environment. Station managers and journalists report fear of reprisals if programs are highly critical of the government.

• In March 2015, a regional police commander stormed the studios of Guide Radio in Kasese, western Uganda, and stopped a program in which the leader of the opposition Forum for Democratic Change was participating. The police commander claimed to be under orders to stop the program because it was “inciting violence.”

• And there has been frequent break ins into offices of Civil Society Organizations, NGOs and Law firms, with fingers pointing to organised raids from government security operatives.

• Nalufenya, Kasangati, Moroto and Kiira Road Police stations have become infamous for having a negative correlation with liberty.

These and many infringements have been carried on against the Freedoms that the government swears to protect and to uphold. This begs the question.

Is there Freedom of Expression in Uganda?

#UGBlogWeek: Freedom of Expression.

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It’s the #UGBlogWeek again, time to write about the issues that surround us, that shape us and affect us, all within a theme.
To choose from, we had the following themes;
• Culture and Norms
• Freedom of Expression
• Mother Politics
There was a poll, so much for democracy; votes were cast and the best theme, as wanted by “the people” won, and here we are, Freedom of Expression.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, freedom of expression is the right of every individual to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Freedom of Expression in Uganda is well provided for in The 1995 Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, Article 29 (1)a-e

It is elaborate in its provision on the freedom of opinion, expression and information guarantees.

To add to Article 29(1)a-e;
Article 41(1) provides that “Every citizen has a right of access to information in the possession of the State or any other agency of the State…”

Though it carries some limitations, exceptions like most laws do and these provide a backdoor to stifling of the freedoms and rights of Ugandans.

Under Article 20(1), the right to expression and access to information is “inherent and not granted by the State”.

By respecting and promoting the right, the State is merely fulfilling its constitutional obligation and not doing anyone a favor.

The beauty about our constitution is Article 43(2a-c) of the Constitution which provides a “limitation upon limitations” on freedom of expression, narrowing the scope of application of the limitations.

This makes the 1995 Uganda Constitution one of the best in Africa with some of the best Provisions on “Freedom of Expression and Access to Information.”

In practice, however, this fundamental human right is frequently restricted through tactics that include censorship, restrictive press legislation, harassment of journalists, bloggers and others who voice their opinions, as then the infamous crackdown on Social Media and Mobile Money Services.

The constitution provides for freedom of expression and of the press; however, these rights are often undermined by provisions in the penal code, including laws on criminal libel and treason, as well as by extralegal actions by the government.

There are so many bad laws in the Penal Code Act on the justification of limitations of freedom of expression and information which do not conform to International Standards or the Constitution.

Lately these limitations have been increased in form of Acts which are hastily passed through the parliament, mostly when the deputy speaker is presiding and on a visit to Kyankwanzi cornerstone or to the tune of a 5m stipend.

The Public Order Management Law, passed in August 2013, grants police (The IGP in partucular) wide discretionary powers to permit or disallow public meetings.
It has generally been implemented to undermine or obstruct Ugandans’ assembly rights when protesting against government.

The Anti-Terrorism Act (2002)  permits increased surveillance of internet and mobile-phone communications in the context of antiterrorism campaigns and
hands out death sentences to journalists convicted of publishing news or materials that promote terrorism.

The 2010 Regulation of Interception of Communications (RIC) Act, 2010 was passed on its First reading and was assented to by the President on the 5th August 2010 and became law shortly thereafter.
It provides for the lawful interception and monitoring of certain communications in the course of their transmission through a telecommunication, postal or any other related service or system in Uganda

The main threat to Uganda’s internet freedom in 2012 involved the passage of the Uganda Communications Act 2012 in September, which created a new regulatory body for all print, broadcast, and electronic media in Uganda—the Uganda Communications Regulatory Authority.

Is there Freedom of Expression in Uganda? As a Ugandan living in Uganda, I say Yes.
And give a 6/10. Because you’re free to say all you want to say, access the information you want to access, unless it’s not deemed political.
But Freedoms must be absolute, less of which they are as good as denied.

The Ugandan situation is summarised by a quote older than three quarters of the country’s population.
“You have Freedom of Expression, but Freedom after Expression isn’t guaranteed.” Idi Amin.

Like they say, Uganda is a ‘Conceptual Country’ all theory, no implementation.
The laws are good but they hardly hold due to the firm grip the Government has on all arms of state including the Judiciary.

There is only one Supreme Law: The Order from Above.