Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Cartoonist Jimmy Spire Ssentongo threatened

From Cartooning for Peace

Ugandan cartoonist Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, member of the Cartooning for Peace network, has received death threats after launching an anti-corruption campaign on X (formerly Twitter) calling Parliament to account. 

This is not the first time that Spire has highlighted dysfunctions in his country through social media campaigns that have earned him threats. 

But this time, Spire’s fears seem to have gone up a notch. He said that Parliament had requested access to his communications data from the Ugandan Communications Commission.

I’m authoritatively aware that ‘Parliament’ has secretly asked UCC @UCC_Official for all my communication details and the job has started – including tracing who I talk to, what, when, where, where I stay, the time of day/night I last communicate, movements, etc. This may include…

— Jim Spire Ssentongo (@SpireJim)

“Our attention has been drawn to renewed threats to the life of our member, Dr. Jimmy Spire Ssentongo, which are circulating on Twitter among other media. We take these threats very seriously”. 

These are the opening words of the statement of support published on 20 March by Makerere University, where Spire teaches. 

It stresses that the anti-corruption advocacy that he carries out as part of his academic work and in his capacity as an intellectual is a matter of academic freedom, and calls on the authorities to protect him from any threat to his life and freedom. 

It also refers to the serious human rights violations committed in the country and reports recent cases of enforced disappearances, murders and attempted assassinations.

Cartooning for Peace is very concerned that Jimmy Spire Ssentongo is under threat and calls for his safety to be guaranteed. We will keep a close watch on his situation. 

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