Uganda bans play critical of govt

2012-10-31 18:11

Kampala - Uganda has banned a theatre production that criticises the country's ruling regime for poor governance and corruption, the co-director of the play said on Wednesday.

Uganda's media council, the government media authority, ordered that performances of the play be halted in a letter to those behind the production sent earlier this week.

"They told us that we cannot go ahead with the play until they have reviewed it," said John Ssegawa, one of the play's authors and directors, adding that he saw the move as "politically motivated".

The play - titled "State of the Nation" - had been running at the country's national theatre in Kampala earlier this month to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Uganda's independence on 9 October.


The production examines the shortcomings of Uganda's current political leadership and compares the current situation to promises made by politicians at the time of independence.

"It is critical of those in charge as they are the governors of the country and the state of the country is not good," Ssegawa said.

Ssegawa said that those behind the play intended to defy the ban and would stage it in an independent theatre in Kampala this weekend.

Uganda has been criticised for corruption, and last week Ireland shelved its aid programme to Uganda after an investigation found that R449.1m ($5.2m) had been misappropriated.

Last month Uganda arrested a British theatre producer for staging a play in Kampala about a gay man despite a temporary ban by the media council.

Producer David Cecil was charged with "disobeying lawful orders" and faces up to two years in jail if found guilty.

Homosexuality is already a crime in Uganda but proposed legislation currently before parliament would see the death penalty introduced for certain homosexual acts.