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Stella Nyanzi (C), a prominent Ugandan activist and government critic, is arrested by police officers as she organised a protest for more food distribution by the government to people who has been financially struggling by the nationwide lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in Kampala, on May 18, 2020

Stella Nyanzi Has Been Arrested for Protesting the 'Slow Distribution of Food' In Uganda

'My children are hungry I want food, I just want food,' said the activist as her and several associates were detained on their way to the home of the Prime Minister.

Ugandan scholar and activist, Stella Nyanzi and other protestors were arrested in Kampala on Monday for carrying out demonstrations against the "slow distribution of food" during the current shutdown.

They were arrested as they marched towards the home of the Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda to discuss why people were without food despite donations being made, reports the Daily Monitor. According a petition from the "The Women's Protest Working Group," which is led by Nyanzi, many poor Ugandans are yet to receive food relief packages from the government, causing them to go hungry.

A video capturing the scene, shows Nyanzi being dragged away by police officers as she yells "my children are hungry I want food, I just want food."


According to BBC Africa, the events promoter Andrew Mukasa, popularly known as Bajjo was also arrested, but it's unclear what charges the two are facing.

The group criticized the current process for food distribution, suggesting that the role be given to community leaders rather than military officials. "Many Ugandans have been excluded from the distribution of food relief by a hastily assembled military outfit," Nyanzi is quoted as saying before her arrest. "Churches, mosque and other civil society institutions that have closer ties and networking within their communities were unfairly denied a chance to help their communities in the time of need and yet they would have been instrumental in mobilising and distributing food with clear guidelines."

She further added: "We note that the anti-COVID measures have created an apartheid and occasioned avoidable suffering upon many vulnerable Ugandans especially women and low income earners who scrounge a livelihood in closed spaces, rental markets and other ordinary chores."

Nyanzi spent 18 months in jail after being charged with "cyber harassment," in 2018 for publishing a poem on her Facebook page which referred to President Yoweri Museveni's mother's vagina. She was released in February and the charges were dropped.

She won the PEN Prize for Freedom of Expression in January for her resistance "in front of a regime that is trying to suppress her."

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This article was originally published on OkayAfrica in March, 2017. We're republishing it here for our Crossroads series.

It's 2000 something. I'm holed up in my bedroom searching for samples to chop up on Fruity Loops. While deep into the free-market jungle of Amazon's suggested music section, I stumble across a compilation of Ethiopian music with faded pictures of nine guys jamming in white suit jackets. I press play on the 30 second sample.

My mind races with the opportunities these breakbeats offered a budding beat maker. Catchy organs, swinging horns, funky guitar riffs, soulful melodies and grainy and pained vocalists swoon over love lost and gained. Sung in my mother tongue—Amharic—this was a far cry from the corny synthesizer music of the 1990s that my parents played on Saturday mornings. I could actually sample this shit.

The next day, I burn a CD and pop it into my dad's car. His eyes light up when the first notes ooze out of the speakers. “Where did you get this?" He asks puzzlingly. “The internet," I respond smiling.

In the 1970s my dad was one of thousands of high school students in Addis Ababa protesting the monarchy. The protests eventually created instability which lead to a coup d'état. The monarchy was overthrown and a Marxist styled military junta composed of low ranking officers called the Derg came to power. The new regime subsequently banned music they deemed to be counter revolutionary. When the Derg came into power, Amha Eshete, a pioneering record producer and founder of Ahma Records, fled to the US and the master recordings of his label's tracks somehow ended up in a warehouse in Greece.

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