UHRC investigates denial of passports to novelist Kakwenza’s children

Lawyers demand unconditional release of novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija
Ugandan author of The Greedy Barbarian, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Kampala, Uganda | URN | The Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has started investigations into allegations of passport denial to three children of exiled novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.

In a letter dated 22nd June, 2022, the UHRC Director of Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services, Aida Nakiganda asked the Directorate of Immigration to respond to the allegations raised by Kakwenza’s lawyer, Eron Kiiza.

On 20th June, 2022, Kiiza representing Kakwenza and his children wrote to the UHRC alleging that his clients,…. who are children of Kakwenza had been denied passports which amounted to violation of their rights as Ugandans to own a passport.

The three children namely; Rutakirwa Mugabe Kakwenza 2-year-old, Siima Nyinaboona Kakwenza 4-year-old, and Nina Kayitesti Kakwenza 9-year-old, are said to have applied for passports on 15th February, 2022 and did interviews on 10th March, 2022.

Documents submitted to the UHRC indicate that the application was documented under file No. IMT 6785/13 and Recieving slip No. 218562.

Kiiza noted in the petition that despite numerous efforts to follow up on the application, there has been no reason given to explain the delay by the passport office to issue passports to the children.

UHRC says they need a response from the Directorate as part of the Commission’s inquiry into the compliant. The Commission further requested the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Control to furnish the complainant with information on the state of their clients passports so that they can explore the option of the appeal process provided for under section 10 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act.

“The allegations if proved are in contravention of Article 29 (2) of the Constitution and section 39 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act which provides that every Ugandan shall have the right to a passport or other travel documents,” added Nakiganda.

Read Also: Exiled writer Kakwenza petitions UHRC over his children’s passports

Kakwenza who is currently in Germany was arrested on December 28th, 2021 for allegedly abusing the First Son, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni through his social media posts. He was reportedly tortured and fled the country after being released on bail, saying he needed urgent treatment, which he couldn’t access in Uganda.

'Tortured' Ugandan novelist Kakwenza flees into exile, says lawyer
Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija displays scars on his back that he claims were inflicted while he was tortured for weeks in detention, at a house in Kampala, Uganda on Feb. 8, 2022

Ever since he left, Kakwenza has filed several petitions including one before the East African Court of Justice alleging human rights violations and the Judicial Service Commission where he accused Dr. Douglas Singiza, now an Acting High Court judge of exhibiting a level of unprofessionalism while handling his case at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s court.