Satirical Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been remanded to Kitalya Prison on charges of offensive communication. Kakwenza was this morning arraigned before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza, who read to him two charges of offensive communication.
Court has heard that on December 24, 2021, in Kampala District, Kakwenza willfully and repeatedly, used his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of his Excellency General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with no purpose of legitimate communication. The Court also heard that between December 26 and 28 2021, Kakwenza also used the same Twitter handle to disturb the peace of President Museveni’s son Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba with no purpose of legitimate communication.
According to sources who attended the session at Buganda Road Court, Kakwenza denied the charges in the absence of his lawyers and journalists and was subsequently remanded to Kitalya Government’s Prison until January 21, 2022.
The charging of Kakwenza comes a day after the High Court Judge Musa Ssekaana issued an order directing the Commander of Special Forces Command Brigadier Peter Candia, the Inspector General of Police Martin Okoth Ochola, CID Director Grace Akullo and the Attorney General to produce him before his court 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 suburb of Kampala and had since then told relatives that he was being detained by the Special Forces Command 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.
Both the High Court order and Makindye order 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 the wife Eva Basima.
They stated that he was being detained incommunicado, not allowed access by family, lawyers and medical doctors yet when he was taken to his upcountry home in Iganga District to conduct a search, he reportedly looked frail, possibly as a result of torture.
In 2017, the former Makerere University Researcher Dr Stella Nyanzi was charged for her posts made on her Facebook attacking the First Lady Janet Kataha Museveni through a vulgarized poem. Stella Nyanzi was subsequently convicted and later on acquitted by High Court Judge Henry Peter Adonyo after the Prosecutors failed to convince the court on the jurisdiction matters (whether the crime was committed in Uganda or outside).