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Comedy Skit Tests Uganda’s Sense of Humor

Uganda’s free speech advocates are calling for the release of a comedy group arrested last week on accusations of promoting sectarianism. Artists on social media are using the hashtag “Free my talent” as they call on the government to free the four-person group called Bizonto. The comedians, still in police custody since their arrest Friday, have yet to be charged, but police say they are investigating the issue as a case of sectarianism. In their skit, the comedians make fun of long-time President Yoweri Museveni and other leaders. The group was arrested at a local radio station. Ofwono Opondo, a government spokesperson, blames the media, questioning why a news organization would start sectarian tendencies as the country moves into an election cycle. The government early this year set up new proposals that seek to vet new songs, videos and film scripts prior to their release. The proposals also demand that musicians, producers, promoters, filmmakers and all other artists register with the government and obtain a license that can be revoked for a range of violations.