Police Chief Kale Kayihura has told journalists that first lady Janet Museveni should be left out the issues concerning controversial Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi who is currently on remand at Luzira Prison and faces cyber harassment and offensive communication charges.

Gen Kayihura said that the order to arrest Nyanzi as effected last Friday was not given by Janet as some have alleged. He argued that the first lady had forgiven Dr Nyanzi.

“She publicly forgave her. But even if she forgave her, we as police have to perform our duty,” Kayihura said.

He then announced: “I ordered the arrest of Dr. Stella Nyanzi” and warned “you should keep the first lady out of this.”

Stella Nyanzi, one of Uganda’s most controversial academics and activists, appeared in court Monday, after being arrested and charged Friday with cyber harassment and the misuse of a computer, for “shaming” the government.

Nyanzi’s latest run-in with the 31-year-old regime of President Yoweri Museveni began with a fight for free sanitary pads for school-age girls.

During the 2016 elections, Museveni and his wife, Janet, promised to provide free pads to poor young girls across the country. That’s important, because as this blog has reported, in several in-depth surveys of girls across Africa many reported that they did not have access to products such as pads, that their schools lacked toilets and that they had not been given even basic information about managing their periods — all of which can make it challenging for a girl to attend class during her period. In the surveys, girls also reported a range of concerns about their periods including fear, shame and embarrassment.