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Uganda: Two musicians detained for disturbing the president’s peace with song

15 December 2017
David Mugema and Jonathan Muwanguzi were detained for a day after pleading not guilty to charges of “offensive communication” over one of their songs.
Photo: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni/Twitter

 

Musician David Mugema and music producer Jonathan Muwanguzi were detained in Luzira Prison on 5 December 2017 after pleading not guilty before Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court in capital Kampala to charges of “offensive communication” over their song “Wumula Mzee” (Take a Rest Old Man), which the prosecution claimed “attacked and disturbed the peace of President Museveni”, reported Ugandan news source Eagle Online.

While the song does not specifically call for the 73-year-old president to retire, its video shows images of Museveni with former leaders, such as Saddam Hussein and Robert Mugabe. Museveni has been in power since 1986. Ugandan lawmakers have recently considered removing age limits for the presidential position and to up presidential terms to seven years rather than the current five-year term limit.

The artists were released on bail on 6 December 2017 after each paid a cash bail of 2,000,000 Ugandan shillings (approx. 466 Euros) and a bond of 10,000,000 Ugandan shillings (approx. 2,330 Euros), reported Nigerian news source The Guardian.

If convicted, the musicians could face up to one year in prison.

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