- By Judith Kukunda | URN
Ugandan Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been granted bail. Kakwenza was arrested on December 28, 2021, from his home in Kisaasi, a Kampala suburb and held incommunicado until January 11, 2022, when he was produced in court on two cases of offensive communication.
According to the Prosecutors, Kakwenza used his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to post a series of tweets about President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba with no purpose of legitimate communication. In one of the tweets, Kakwenza refers to the President as an election thief and in another, he calls Muhoozi overweight and intellectually bankrupt.
The prosecutors argue that the communication was willfully and repeatedly used to disturb the peace of the president. He denied the charges.
His lawyers asked the court to release him on grounds that he was sick having been tortured while in State custody. According to the lawyers, Kakwenza wants to get a medical facility of his choice because he suffered injuries on all the parts of his body except his head.
Today, he was granted a cash bail of Shs500,000 while his four sureties have each been ordered to execute a non-cash bond of Shs10 million. The sureties were Lawyer Julius Galisonga, National Unity Platform Secretary-General David Lewis Rubongoya, Kololo Secondary School Teacher Annah Ashaba and Activist Job Kiija.
He was directed to deposit his original passport with the Court for six months. However, this order would be reviewed from time to time.
The judge also directed the parties in the case not to discuss any information with the media; a breach of this order would lead to the automatic cancellation of the bail.
Earlier chief prosecutors Patricia Cingtho and Joan Keko informed the court that investigations were still ongoing and prayed for a shorter adjournment to complete and share the evidence they intend to use against Kakwenza with his lawyers in preparation for the trial.
As a result, Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Singiza ordered the office of the DPP to make sure that inquiries are complete by the closure of this week. The matter will return to the Court on February 1, 2022. Lawyers Eron Kiiza and Samuel Wanda said that they are ready for the trial.
Kakwenza is the Author of satirical novels such as the Greedy Barbarian and the Banana Republic where he says writing is treasonous. Lawyer Male Mabirizi has since petitioned the East African Court of Justice seeking orders to quash Kakwenza’s offensive communication charges on grounds that they were illegally sanctioned against him having been tortured in the state custody.
Rukirabashaija was picked up Tuesday by unknown people suspected to be plainclothes security operatives, moments after being freed.
His lawyer, Eron Kizza says shortly after Rukirabashaija was released from Kityala Prison at 2:30 pm, men dressed in plain clothes forced him into a tinted double cabin vehicle that had no number plate and drove off.