Boniface Mwangi visits jailed Ugandan political activist Stella Nyanzi

Boniface Mwangi and Stella Nyanzi (Courtesy)

Kenya’s award-winning photojournalist and activist Boniface Mwangi took to social media to share details of his visit to jailed Ugandan scholar and political activist Stella Nyanzi at a Kampala prison.

According to Boniface, Nyanzi, who also doubles up as a University lecturer, remains ‘strong’ in spite of the incarceration.

“I visited Stella Nyanzi in Luzira prison today. She still has the revolutionary fire burning in her. She chose to remain in jail and waive her right to bail, because she knew they would keep on arresting her. Her idea of #FreeStellaNyanzi is freedom to write what she wants,” part of his post read.

Dr. Nyanzi (Courtesy)

Dr. Nyanzi, a single-mother of three who studied journalism then drifted into academia where she studies sexual identities, got into trouble with the Ugandan authorities in September last year over a post she published on Facebook. In the post, she allegedly made references to the President's late mother's private parts and said she wished that she had died at birth.

She was later sentenced to 18 months in prison after she was found guilty of cyber harassment for a Facebook post that, according to the prosecutors, insulted the late mother of President Yoweri Museveni.

Speaking to Boniface, Dr Nyanzi insisted that she is ready to be rearrested if she can’t freely criticize President Museveni.

“If l can't write what l want about Museveni on Facebook then l will remain here, and write from here. If I go home, it will be a matter of days before they arrest me again. I don't want to be free if I can't write and criticize Museveni," she said.

Her arrest saw other Rights activists gang up and criticize authorities in Uganda, demanding her release.

Amnesty International said in a statement that the verdict should be quashed and Nyanzi, who has been in jail since November last year, freed immediately.

“This verdict is outrageous and flies in the face of Uganda’s obligations to uphold the right to freedom of expression ... and demonstrates the depths of the government’s intolerance of criticism,” said Joan Nyanyuki, director for East Africa at human rights pressure group Amnesty International.