By Mike Ssegawa
Ahead of 2016 elections, Ugandan media discovered a woman on social media who was into prose peppered with raw sexual innuendos. She was first dismissed, before she became the talk of the town.
Nyanzi was a pro Besigye voter, praising the retired colonel like a teenager in love and had some hateful words for President Museveni, like a man she had bitterly broken up with.
After elections when FDC were holding prayers at their offices, Nyanzi was one of academics who came out of their comfort in libraries and lecture halls to demand for an electoral audit of the February 2016 presidential election which was won by Mr Museveni with over 60%.
Dr Nyanzi has not stopped at doing political activism. The Makerere University researcher is actually more legendary for doing what many sane people would say, “over my dead body”. For example, when she undressed before television cameras in protest against Prof Mahmoud Mamdani who had locked her office after she refused to teach at Makerere Institute for Social Research where she was employed as a researcher, Uganda froze.
This is where it actually shows you what kind of person Nyanzi is and to what extent she is willing to go, to fight for what she believes in.
She has been hailed as bold by some circles, while other people think she might need psychiatric help. Dr Nyanzi always shakes off criticism of her saying President Museveni has abused Ugandans more than any words she has used, can hurt.
So, when Nyanzi started attacking First Lady Janet Museveni, first, over sanitary pads after she told parliament that the government didn’t have money to buy girls emergence pads in schools, the cocks came home to crow.
On Wednesday, Nyanzi penned another Facebook post which many of her followers thought she had crossed the line.
If, they argued, Police was interested in her sanitary pads posts, then this personal attacks on the First Lady would earn her a one ticket trip to Luzira over libel or slander. She said she didn’t care. That also dismissed Fr Simon Lokodo’s threats thereafter that Nyanzi will be arrested and prosecuted. She had almost said, Bring ‘dem on.
And indeed, if Stella can strip herself naked before her students and cameras, what else is she willing to lose?
On Thursday, Mrs Museveni appeared on NTV. She among other things talked about Dr Nyanzi wondering what made her this angry about her person. She said however, she had forgiven Nyanzi.
The gesture from Mrs Museveni is remarkable. That’s what is expected of her as a leader.
However, her forgiving Dr Nyanzi, will not make the Makerere staffer change her methods. At least in her opinion, she is at least listened to when she employs those methods.
Clearly, Nyanzi just found Janet could be her punching bag to send her message, but her target is Mr Museveni. Can the President of Uganda address the issues that have emboldened people such as Nyanzi or he will solve the issues they are raising by jailing them? That’s the big question.