Kampala, Uganda | URN | Ugandan award-winning novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has on Tuesday 11, January 2022 been hurriedly charged for disturbing the peace of President Museveni and his son Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
Kakwenza was arraigned before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court in the morning, presided over by the chief magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza, who read to him two charges of offensive communication.
According to sources who attended the court session, Kakwenza denied the charges in the absence of his lawyers and journalists and was subsequently remanded to Kitalya prison until January 21.
Court heard that on December 24, 2021, in Kampala district, Kakwenza willfully and repeatedly, used his Twitter handle, @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Museveni with no purpose of legitimate communication. Additionally, between December 26 and 28 2021, the court was told, Kakwenza used the same Twitter handle to disturb the peace of Museveni’s son Gen Muhoozi.
The charging of Kakwenza comes a day after High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana issued an order directing the commander of Special Forces Command (SFC) Brigadier Peter Candia, the Inspector General of Police Martins Okoth Ochola, CID director Grace Akullo and the Attorney General to produce him before his court dead or alive on Wednesday 12th and show cause as to why he has been in detention for more than the mandatory 48 hours without being charged.
Kakwenza was arrested on December 28, 2021, from his home in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb, and has since then told relatives that he was being detained by SFC in Entebbe. On January 4, 2022, court in Makindye, presided over by grade one magistrate Irene Nambatya issued an order directing the government to release Kakwenza unconditionally. But the government ignored the order.
Both the High court and Makindye court orders were issued following successful applications for the restoration of Kakwenza’s constitutional freedoms including the right to liberty and fair hearing by his lawyers; Nalukoola Luyimbazi, Eron Kiiza and Samuel Wanda together with his wife Eva Basima.
They stated that he was being detained incommunicado, not allowed access to his family members, lawyers and medical doctors yet when he was taken to his upcountry home in Iganga district for a search, he reportedly looked frail, possibly as a result of torture.
In 2017, Makerere University researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi was charged for the posts she made on her Facebook attacking the First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni through a vulgarized poem. Nyanzi was subsequently convicted but later on acquitted by High court judge Henry Peter Adonyo after the state failed to convince the court on the jurisdiction matters (whether the crime was committed in Uganda or outside).