#FreeSamwyri, I thought it was a joke when I chanced upon the tweet this afternoon.
Perhaps the themes for #UgBlogWeek have an uncanny way of being in touch with the political events of the day. Last time’s theme was Love and Elections, and no sooner had the week started than social media was blocked because of a threat to “security”. However we all know why it was so.
This week’s theme was “Freedom of Expression”. It was not a hard theme to handle but being very political was somehow hard for people to share their views on. Perhaps there was nothing to share? I do not know. This afternoon though, I get to learn that one of our friends and social media enthusiast, @samwyri was picked up for donning a t-shirt that had Ugandan opposition leader Besigye’s face on it. This was after his friend who had printed the t-shirts was picked up. (Visit his FB Page here).
Sam has never been shy when it comes to expressing his discontent towards the state. And there is no problem with that because it is catered for in the provisions of the Constitution, Article 29. However, when you pick this man up for wearing a T-shirt of a leader (who is in detention moreover) without cause, do we really still believe that you, the state, believe in this constitution and freedom of expression? Or are you simply going to shut out whatever seems to threaten your “popularity”?
Word is that Sam might be undergoing torture.
I hate to get involved in politics. The politics of this world especially. It’s just hard to ignore things that happen when they concern people you might know. When it hits home, it’s hard to ignore. I am not sure what threat Sam and his friend pose to the government but I know that T-Shirts hardly ever caused harm. What is sad is that this happens at a time when the state is hosting South Korean Vice President and is cutting ties with North Korea which we all know to be one of the most dictatorial regimes. I mean, there are 28 approved haircuts allowed in North Korea. Looks ironic and hypocritical by the state here.
The state should #FreeSamwyri because they believe in the constitution. Because they believe in democracy. Because they believe in freedom of expression. I believe that their actions either show us what their true intention is, to protect the rights of the people, or to protect their own interests. Their next move will prove to us whether they uphold the constitution or can find ways to twist it to their gain. For God’s sake it’s a t-shirt.