Ugandan pop star Jemimah Kansiime arrested and jailed for wearing short dress in music video

If she's found guilty of breaking the country's strict new anti-pornography laws, the singer could be set to face a jail sentence of up to 10 years

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Ugandan pop star Jemimah Kansiime is facing a long spell in jail after conservative politicians in the country agreed that she had broken the country’s hardline new anti-pornography laws by wearing a short dress in a music video.

The 21-year-old singer was hunted down and arrested alongside her manager, Didi Muchwa Mugisha, in November after ethics minister Simon Lokodo described the video for her single “Ensolio Yange” (which has since been removed) as “obscene and vulgar”.

Kansiime, who also appears in a bikini covered in foam, has already spent five weeks in jail. The YouTube clip has been viewed 190,000 times.

“I was aware that there are some sections of society that are conservative,” she told The Guardian.

“I was just experimenting to see if I put on a short dress, will the audience like it?”

Mugisha pleaded guilty to his charges, and escaped with a fine of 200,000 Ugandan shillings (£43). However, Kansiime pleaded not guilty, and was imprisoned for five weeks while she gathered funds for her bail.

Under the law, which came into effect in February, if Kansiime is found guilty of “wilfully and unlawfully producing, trafficking, importing, selling and abetting pornography”, she could face up to 10 years in jail.

Kansiime’s lawyer, Isaac Semakadde, argues that her case is a landmark challenge on the creative rights of expression for Ugandan performers.


Kansiime is due in court later this month.