Ugandan Activist Stella Nyanzi Seeks Refuge in Kenya

Ugandan activist, academic and author Dr Stella Nyanzi has reportedly fled to Kenya to seek refuge. Nyanzi’s lawyer has cited political persecution by the Ugandan government as the cause for the activist’s recent move. Nyanza is alleged to have crossed the Uganda-Kenya border dressed in disguise with her children already placed in a safehouse in Nairobi.


READ: Jailed Ugandan Activist, Stella Nyanzi, Wins PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression

Speaking in a telephonic interview, Nyanza says that, “The abductions and detentions of political actors were getting closer to me; my children have been targets of police trailing. I just left prison in February last year and I don’t want to go back, in a telephone interview.”

In 2018, Nyanzi was arrested and charged with the cyber-harrassment of President Yoweri Museveni after she wrote a poem about his mother on Facebook. She was subsequently sentenced to 18 months in Luzira Maximum Security Prison and released in February of last year. Nyanzi was again arrested briefly in May of last year for leading The Women’s Protest Working Group in demonstrations against the slow distribution of food during the national COVID-19 lockdown in Uganda.

The Ugandan government’s targeting of political dissidents and activists continues as 76-year-old Museveni now enters his sixth term in office following last month’s presidential elections. Museveni’s National Resistance Movement (NRM) secured 59 percent of the vote while opposition leader Bobi Wine‘s National Unity Platform (NUP) secured 35 percent of the vote. Bobi Wine, who has faced numerous arrests and military raids himself after contesting for the presidency, has officially challenged the results of the 2021 national elections.