Ugandan pop singer Panadol wa Basajja (literally “medicine for men”), 21, faced up to 10 years in jail for her sexy music video, which conservative politicians felt contravened a tough anti-pornography law.
Despite the popularity of the video, she was arrested in November as part of Ugandan Ethics Minister Simon Lokodo’s moral crackdown. Her manager, Didi Muchwa Mugisha, who produced the video, was also detained. He pleaded guilty and was fined 200 000 Ugandan shillings (US$75), but Kansiime pleaded not guilty and was held for five weeks before posting bail.
The singer is the first person to be tried under the Anti-Pornography Act. The act was signed into law on 24 February 2014 by Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, along with another controversial law, the Anti-Homosexuality Act that punishes same-sex conduct with life in prison, which drew international condemnation. The Anti-Pornography Act, on the other hand, is the government’s attempt to ban porn or “any representation of the sexual parts of a person for primarily sexual excitement”.
Critics see it as part of a growing anti-liberal movement in Uganda, where religious-driven conservatism appears to be on the rise. Human Rights Watch has argued that the law defines pornography so loosely that it has encouraged public attacks on women wearing skimpy clothing.