The Solicitor General has written to the Makindye Chief Magistrates Court seeking a certified copy of proceedings that directed the government to unconditionally release Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.
In the letter dated January 6, 2022, Christine Kaahwa while writing on behalf of the Solicitor General says that they intend to look at the proceedings which took place without the government’s involvement to enable them to take appropriate action.
“On 3rd January, we were served with an exparte application MC no. 239/2021 seeking among others, orders that the applicant is unconditionally released from police custody or detention”, reads the letter in part.
It adds that ” the application was heard and determined by her worship Irene Nambatya who on January 4, 2022, issued an exparte order to the respondent to unconditionally release the Applicant from police custody”.
According to the Solicitor General, they are dissatisfied with the orders of the Magistrate, and therefore they urgently need the court to avail the Attorney General with a certified copy of proceedings, ruling, and order to enable them to take the necessary appropriate action.
The letter which has already been received by Makindye Court however doesn’t indicate what steps the government wants to take after getting the proceedings. But normally, certified copies of court proceedings are always required when someone wants to appeal in a higher court against a certain decision arising from those proceedings or to implement it.
Kakwenza’s lawyers led by Eron Kiiza have said that the government is trying to disobey a court order and deviate from what is expected of the Attorney General.
The Solicitor General’s letter arises from an order issued three days ago by Makindye Grade One Magistrate Irene Nambatya ordering the Attorney General to release Kakwenza unconditionally. Nambatya issued the order following an application filed on his behalf by his lawyers Eron Kiiza, Nalukoola Luyimbazi, and Samuel Wanda demanding for the restoration of his right to liberty saying that he had been in unknown detention without being arraigned in court within 48 hours as mandated by law.
He was later on Monday this week taken to his upcountry home in Iganga district for a search by police detectives and returned to unknown custody according to his lawyers.
Kakwenza’s wife Eva Basima also petitioned the High Court demanding an order that he should be produced in court whether dead alive.
Basima who sued the Special Forces Commander Brigadier Peter Chandia, Criminal Investigations Division Director Grace Akullo, Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola, and the Attorney General said her husband when he was brought for a search when he looked tortured.
To date, Basima says Kakwenza has been detained incommunicado in total violation of his constitutional right to liberty and fair hearing.
Although this case is fixed for hearing before Civil Division Judge Musa Ssekaana on Monday next week, Kakwenza was expected to be arraigned at Buganda Road Magistrates Court for plea taking within this week. But sources in security say they will produce him for charging after gathering sufficient evidence to incriminate him.
Several individuals and organizations including the European Union have since demanded that Kakwenza gets released unconditioned while Uganda Human Rights Commission is concerned that he should be taken to court.
In October 2021, Kakwenza was awarded as the winner of International Writer of Courage at the PEN Pinter Prize function. This annual award is normally presented to a person who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.
Kakwenza has so far written books like “the Greedy Barbarian” which talks about a dictator who stays in power for 43 years and another titled “the Banana Republic” which narrates about his life in the custody of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence where he was taken twice in 2020 and reportedly tortured.
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 High court.