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Ugandan Singer Faces Possible Arrest Under Anti-Pornography Law After Boyfriend Leaks Nude Photos

Screenshot of Desire Luzina's newly released music video for "Ekitone."

Screenshot of Desire Luzinda's newly released music video for “Ekitone.”

When Uganda passed an anti-pornography law in 2013, questions were raised about how it would be applied. The law criminalises people who produce, transmit and promote pornography, and also bans sexually explicit clothing such as miniskirts. 

A high-profile case of revenge porn has reignited the debate about the law. Desire Luzinda, a popular Ugandan musician, has been the talk of Ugandan social media after eight nude photos of her were published online without her permission allegedly by her Nigerian ex-boyfriend, Franklin Emuobor, who claims she was cheating on him.

Following the leak, Uganda's Minister of Ethics and Integrity Rev. Father Simon Lokodo called for an investigation and possibly her arrest, saying the musician might have committed an offence under the anti-pornography law:

Luzinda was then questioned for over eight hours by the police about the photos. She addressed the incident on her Facebook page:

To all my fans in Uganda and all over the world, as you might be aware, there has been a lot of fanfare and discussion in the media and social media about my photos taken in private that were leaked to the public by a jilted lover.

The facts about this matter are that these were photos taken in privacy with someone I loved. In our private moments, we all have our “moments of madness”. The bottom line is that I trusted this person and never hoped that something done in private would find its way to the public domain irrespective of our differences.

Ugandan Luga-Latino star Daxx Kartel took the “Desire pose” challenge. This photo was widely shared on messaging apps.

The photos have circulated widely on social media and social messaging apps. Sharing nude photos is a crime under article 13 of the anti-pornography act, which states that “A person shall not produce, traffic in, broadcast, procure, import, export, sell or abet any form of pornography.” No one has been arrested.

The Ugandan Ministry of Internal Affairs is investigating her ex-boyfriend following reports that he is using a Ugandan passport obtained with forged documents. The police are not looking for him in connection with the photos, although it is a crime under the Computer Misuse Act to use electronic communication to disturb the peace or right of privacy of any person.

Despite the private photos being leaked without Luzinda's permission, some on social media nevertheless criticized her for them. Writing about Luzinda's plight in a column titled “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”, Paul Busharizi argued that the reactions to the episode revealed more about Uganda as a society than Luzinda — that many people are petty and self-righteous who derive pleasure from other people's pain.

Reacting to Busharizi's observation, reader Elir Apugan wondered what would the reaction have been if Luzinda were a man:

To me, the most appalling thing about the Luzinda “affair” is that many people are criticising her because she is female.

Would there have been such uproar if she were a man? I doubt it.

Kato pointed out that the photos were taken in private:

One's “values” cannot be judged on nude photos taken in their bedroom. I think you need to rein in your rigid conservative interpretation of Grace and the law a bit.

Paul is right. Ugandans must learn to mind their own business. I've repeated it elsewhere, I'll do so now, Desire can do anything she wants with her lover. It is overbearing of anyone to question how she conducts herself in private. She is an adult, for heaven's sake!

Photos of users striking a “Desire pose” began to flood some websites, though it is not clear whether these photos are meant to mock her or show support. 

Others sympathised with Luzinda. Some of her supporters such as Arnold Scot asked Ugandan police to leave Luzinda alone after they summoned her to give a statement:

‪#‎teamdesire‬…… Wabula police why can't you guys get other businesses and investigations and leave desire in peace […]

The Ebonies' Actresses Also Took The Desire Pose

The Ebonies’ actresses showing off their “Desire pose” skills. This photo was widely shared on messaging apps.

Ugandan media personality Bryan Mckenzie added:

Luzinda desired for forgiveness,its time we help her get back to her feet,if you love somebody because of their good deeds it would be unfair for you not to love them and forgive them when they do wrong.

‪#‎Teamdesire‬.

Enock Audrice Nsubuga advised Luzinda to stage a concert to see the support she has from many Ugandans:

#‎TeamDesire‬ let's look at the brighter side of this crisis, like they say; Never waste a criss or that, there is no bad publicity in show show business…

DL [Desire Luzinda] throw a show any day, any time and watch how much support we shall shower u.

Ugandan video producer Frank Jah was one of the first people to publicly meet Desire Luzinda after the incident. He took a picture with her in a “Desire pose”. 

Frank Jah in a "Desire pose" with Desire Luzinda. This photo was widely shared on messaging apps.

Frank Jah in a “Desire pose” with Desire Luzinda. This photo was widely shared on messaging apps.

During a football match between Ghana and Uganda, some fans wore Team Desire jerseys:

A man shows off The Team Desire Jersey

A man shows off a Team Desire Jersey. This photo was widely shared on messaging apps. 

Last month, Ugandan music producer commonly known as Producer Didi and a female up-and-coming musician Panadol Wabasajja became the first high-profile victims of the anti-pornography law after they were both imprisoned for producing pornographic videos. It has also been speculated that Ugandan top comedian Amooti Omubalanguzi might be arrested after photos were circulated online showing him dancing with a scantly dressed woman at one of Kampala's night clubs.

The incident did not stop Luzinda from releasing her new music video “Ekitone,” which went viral. She posted photos on Facebook of her first performance since the incident, thanking her fans for support:

Yesterday I tested the waters in such a long time. I could not believe the overwhelming support. The crowd's favorite songs were EBYAMA AND EKITONE, How can I thank you for sticking with me!!! Kisses…

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