President Museveni has warned that no one should ever be arrested over charges related to annoying the person of the President.
A number of people, journalist-turned pastor Joseph Kabuleta have been arrested for insulting and annoying the President.
Responding to a question from journalists on Thursday during a press conference at the Nakasero state Lodge, Museveni said the charge is archaic and was used by colonial masters against Ugandans.
“I don’t mind being annoyed. I have no problem with being annoyed. That was a colonial charge that I used to hear about,”Museveni said.
He said that the bigger charge should be sedition and inciting the public that the said the police should put much focus on, rather than the charge of annoying the President.
“The bigger issue is telling lies, inciting and sedition. Those are the areas of substance that police should concentrate on.”
He said he would talk to police to see they concentrate on bigger issues.
At least 10 people have either been arrested or arraigned in court and charged with annoying the person of the President.
Former Makerere University research fellow, Dr.Stella Nyanzi is currently waiting for judgment in a matter in which she is accused of annoying President Museveni through a post she made on her Facebook page in which he criticized the President and members of the first family.
Judgment to be delivered by Buganda Road grade one Magistrate Gladys Kamasanyu is to be delivered on August 1, 2019.
Five directors and three editors of the Pepper Publications Group were in 2017 arrested and detained at Nalufenya detention center in Jinja district for among other charges disturbing the peace of President Museveni, security minister Henry Tumukunde and Gen. Salim Saleh.
The directors included Arinaitwe Rugyendo, Johnson Musinguzi, Patrick Mugumya , Richard Tusiime, and James Mujuni whereas the editors were Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Francis Tumusiime (also News Editor).
The charges related to a story published in the Red Pepper about the Uganda and Rwanda relations titled “M7 plotting to overthrow Kagame – Rwanda” on November 20, 2017.
Joseph Kabuleta was the latest victim of the charge of annoying the President when he was arrested by plain-clothed security operatives at Lugogo on Friday and detained at the Special Investigations Division in Kireka.
Police spokesperson, Fred Enanga last week said Kabuleta had been arrested for ridiculing President Museveni on social media by referring to him as a thief and gambler.
“According to preliminary information, the writer (Kabuleta) posted grossly offensive messages, under “Joseph Kabuleta Weekly Rant Returns” referring to the fountain of honor as a “Gambler, Thief and Liar”. Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 criminalizes such acts of communication,”Enanga said.
Kabuleta was however released on police bond after spending four days in detention.