By Ronald Kabuye
Makerere university research doctor Stella Nyanzi has petitioned constitutional court challenging the constitutionality of the 1938 mental treatment act cap 279 which the state used to apply for the forceful mental check up.
This has been revealed by Stella Nyanzi’ lawyer Peter Walubiri while stella Nyanzi was appearing before the Buganda Road chief magistrate James Mawanda Eremy to hear the application filed by the resident state attorney Jonathan Muwaganya for an order to compel Nyanzi undergo a compulsory medical examination as to her state of mind.
Peter walubiri also asked court to have the proceedings on the same stayed since they had filed criminal application on same yesterday before the Buganda Road court until the constitutional court rules on matter which was also filed yesterday registered under constitution number 18 of 2017 before the constitutional court.
Despite the state a prosecutor Asiiyo Mary who stood in for Jonathan Muwaganya asking for the general adjournment of the entire case, walubiri insisted that the adjournment should be on mental examination application to allow the state time to file their response and them (Nyanzi’ lawyers) file a response in rejoinder incase the state objects their plea.
According to the petition filed before the constitutional court as seen by this website among others contends section of the 1938 Mental treatment act is inconsistent with and in contravention of articles 20, 21, 23, 24, 32, 43, 44 and 45 and paragraphs xiv, xvi, xx of the national objectives and directive principles of state policy enshrined in the constitution of the republic of Uganda.
Nyanzi further challenges section 2(1), 2(2), 2(3)2(4) 2(6), section 3, section 4, section 5 among others.
Nyanzi says that unless restrained by orders of the constitutional court, the respondent who is the attorney general in this case, its agents intend to subject her and other critics of the government/rulers presently in power to compulsory medical examination, unsafe cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and involuntary commitment for an unspecified periods as “idiots” purportedly under the authority of the impunged sections of the 1938 mental treatment act.
Unlike the previous times when the same court was filled to capacity whenever Nyanzi made appearances before it, this time she had numbered supporters and declined to give a comment to the media before and after the court session.
The presiding magistrate Eremye adjourned the matter to the 7th of june 2017.
She is charged with two counts including cyber harassment contrary to section 24 (1)(2)(a) of the Computer misuse Act 2011 and offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 by referring to His Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni as among others “a pair of buttocks” in her facebook posts on January 20th ,2017 and between January and march 2017 respectively.