The wife of novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has sued the Special Forces SFC Commander over the continued detention of her husband.
In an application filed before the Civil Division of the High Court, Kakwenza’s wife Eva Basima is suing the SFC Commander Brigadier General Peter Candia, the Director of Criminal Investigations Directorate Grace Akullo, the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola, and the Attorney General.
Basima contends that her husband was arrested from their other home in Kisaasi Nakawa Division Kampala by officers last week by armed men and he has since remained inaccessible to her. Basima adds that she got an opportunity to see Kakwenza on Monday when plain-clothed men and armed SFC soldiers drove him to their upcountry home in Iganga district and conducted a search.
Basima adds that when Kakwenza was brought for a search, he reportedly looked tortured, weak and was limping, and wearing a blood-stained vest and underwear.
“The applicant/Kakwenza revealed to me that he is being detained at Special Forces Command in Entebbe. The applicant remains under incommunicado and illegal detention.
Basima now through her lawyers of Nalukoola, Kakeeto Advocates and Solicitors, and Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates want the High Court to order the respondents to bring Kakwenza dead or alive and explain why he should not be released from custody.
On Tuesday, the Makindye Magistrates Court Grade One Magistrate Irene Nambatya issued an order directing the government to unconditionally release Kakwenza. This was on grounds that Kakwenza had been in detention for more than the mandatory 48 hours without being arraigned in court which violates his constitutional right to liberty and fair hearing.
In 2020, Kakwenza was arrested twice in a space of six months. He was first arrested on April 13 from his home in Iganga District allegedly by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and detained in Mbuya. He was later charged with doing an act likely to spread an infectious disease following a post on his Facebook page related to COVID-19.
He was later granted bail but again arrested in September of the same year and his lawyers said it was in relation to his book titled “The Banana Republic”, in which he had written about his experience under CMI custody earlier.
He had also previously written a book titled “The Greedy Barbarian” in which he talked about a greedy and incompetent dictator Kayibanda who clings to power for 43 years.
In October 2021, Kakwenza was awarded as the Winner of International Writer of Courage at the PEN Pinter Prize function and this annual award is normally presented to a person who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.
Kakwenza has since sued the government seeking compensation for infringement of his rights after he was illegally detained in 2020 where he was reportedly tortured and kept incommunicado. But his case is yet to be determined by the Civil Division of the High Court.