Uganda: Anti-Museveni Author Freed After Five Days

The Ugandan government has freed the author of a book who was imprisoned for five days without access to his lawyers or family. Vincent Nzaramba’s little known book People Power, Battle the Mighty General called for a coup and a revolution in the country, thrusting the little known activist into the spotlight.

Many netizens have exchanged the publication via social media sites since police arrested Nzaramba on Saturday 17 September, 2011. During his arrest the police seized over 200 copies of the book.

Nzaramba is a former leader at Uganda’s oldest university, Makerere; he stood for a parliamentary seat in the February general elections and also runs a blog that features his views on how to stage a non-violent revolution. In his book Nzaramba calls for an uprising like the ones that engulfed the North African countries early this year and saw the demise of the regimes in TunisiaEgypt and Libya.

Book cover: People Power, Battle the Mighty General

Book cover: People Power, Battle the Mighty General

Uganda has experienced demonstrations in the last few months over the rising cost of living which saw ten people shot dead in the streets of Kampala in April and May. The government has increasingly made it difficult for opposition groups to hold rallies, the latest being an anti-Gaddafi demonstration.

Nzaramba’s book is only the latest to catch the government's eye. Last year the authorities tried to blocked Dr Olive Kobusingye's book The Correct Line, another anti-Museveni publication. President Museveni has been in power since 1986 and ‘life after Museveni’ discussions are common in the national media and online forums.

Online reactions

A Facebook group was formed to call for Vincent Nzaramba’s release. Some on the group page called him a prisoner of conscience and over 800 people have joined in support.

Morris P'LORENG'A comments:

While we end the day, we should never forget Vincent Nzaramba who may be facing serious physical and psychological torture in the hands of the murderous NRM regime.

James William Mugeni indicates that the soft copies of the book are already accessible out of the city where the arrest took place:

Interseting [interesting] that online copies are a vailabe [available] we have then upcountry already.”THE MAN IS FINISHED”

Steven Mukuma emphasises what the Minister of Information told the press – that the police had used excessive force in the arrest of Nzaramba:

Yes i think thr ws excessive force imposed on vincent as rightly pt by karooro okurut ystdy. I dnt need 2 repeat wht sh said. So cn he pls enjoy constitutional rights en th rules of natural justice as any othr citizen?

Enx Nux says the arrest can only expose the weakness of the government:

its unfortunate but gud on the other hand as its the only way govt can display its cruck edges hence calling upon the ready on es to relieve them from burden. I get smile every de as govt continues to expose its lines off weakness but the same smile disappears if none is ready to unite 4 one ug. Let get focused & keep our ambitions high to rescue this country.

Nina Mbabazi wonders how the charge of inciting violence on Nzaramba can hold:

Nzaramba Vincent who has just been freed on bond, wrote a book that some have circulated on facebook and I can clearly see he hates M7s guts. But inciting violence? Did he call for the death of anyone Al Shabaab style? This must be the best publicity stunt for his book because most of us would not have read it.

Ugandan journalist Don Wanyama wonders on his Facebook page why the government is jittery about books given with the country’s poor reading culture; however, the book is available online which has made it easy for many social media users to access and read.



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