Ugandan TikToker Jailed to Six Years for Insulting President on TikTok

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Written By Vikas Jangid

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Ugandan TikToker jailed for insulting president

A 24-year-old man in Uganda, Edward Awebwa, has been sentenced to six years in prison for posting a video on TikTok that insulted President Yoweri Museveni, First Lady Janet Museveni, and their son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Awebwa faced charges of hate speech and spreading "misleading and malicious" information, including claims of upcoming tax increases under President Museveni.

Court Proceedings and Sentencing

During the trial, Awebwa pleaded guilty but did not appear repentant for his actions. Magistrate Stella Maris Amabilis described the language used in his video as "extremely offensive" and emphasized the need for a sentence that teaches respect for the president and his family.

Awebwa received a six-year sentence for each of the four charges against him, to be served concurrently.

Source: Twitter/Humanrights256

Criticism and Human Rights Concerns

Human rights organizations have frequently criticized Ugandan authorities for such crackdowns on civil liberties and freedom of speech.

Notably, in 2022, author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija faced similar charges after critical remarks about President Museveni and his son on Twitter. Rukirabashaija fled to Germany alleging torture during his detention.

Legal and Political Context

President Museveni, who has been in power since 1986, signed a law in 2022 aimed at regulating speech, particularly online, which has drawn condemnation from rights groups.

Although Uganda's constitutional court ruled a section of this law unconstitutional, critics argue that its broader application still poses threats to freedom of expression.

Human rights lawyer Michael Aboneka questioned the authorities' approach, suggesting that criticism of the president and his family should be expected in a democratic society.

He highlighted ongoing legal challenges to the law under which Awebwa was charged, citing concerns over its ambiguity and potential for misuse.


Edward Awebwa's case underscores ongoing tensions between freedom of expression and governmental authority in Uganda.

As international scrutiny mounts, questions persist about the balance between protecting political figures from defamation and safeguarding citizens' right to criticize their leaders.

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