Kakwenza Rukirabashaija: Ugandan Author Tortured For Criticising the Government In His Book.

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31-year-old law student, and author. Kakwenza went missing on April 13, 2020, and days later it was found he had been arrested from his home by operatives from the Ugandan Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and detained at Mbuya Military Barracks, CMI headquarters. 

On Monday 20th April, High Court in Kampala ordered the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence director, Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defence Forces and the Attorney General to ensure Kakwenza is brought to court on Monday, April, 27 dead or alive.

“…it’s hereby ordered that a writ of habeas corpus is directed at the Attorney General, Inspector General of Police, Chief of Defence Forces, director of CMI to have the body of Kakwenza produced before the High Court at Kampala on the 27th April 2020,” Justice Esta Nambayo ordered.

On Tuesday 21 April the army secretly arraigned him before the Iganga Magistrates court without informing his lawyer or family. He was charged with doing an act likely to spread the infection of a disease contrary to section 171 of the Penal Code Act.

The prosecution alleges that on April 6, 2020, while at Busei A village in Iganga district using a min- Lenovo laptop, the accused, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija unlawfully and negligently posted messages on his Facebook account mobilizing the public against complying with the directives and public health guidelines issued to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

On Wednesday, 6 May 2020, Mr Rukirabashaija was released on bail, on a non-cash bond of shs10 million and each of his sureties was also ordered to pay shs10 million non -cash. He was also ordered by the Iganga Grade one Magistrate His Lordship Yunus Ndiwalana to return on June 15.

Upon his bail release,  the lawyer for the activist and author, Eron Kiiza, alleged that Mr Kakwenza was weak at the time of his release.

Prior to his arrest, Mr Rukirabashaija had released his critical political satirical book “The Greedy Barbarian” which took on the corrupt government of Uganda and other African leaders. 

Although the government operatives had claimed he was arrested for covid19 misinformation, many however believed otherwise, saying, the book was the cause of his arrest and torture. 

Following his release, he said, he had been arrested by operatives from CMI who reportedly tortured him as they asked him about the critical book, “The Greedy Barbarian”.

Despite the backlash from his previous book, Kakwenza upon his release has gone on to chronicle his account of the torture and abuses he suffered in the hands of the CMI in his new book, Banana Republic. 

In the book, Kakwenza gives a detailed account of his ordeal while in CMI torture chamber for a week and another 15 days in the government gazetted prison at Busesa.

“This is a narration of the excruciating torture that I went through in a Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) dungeon as a result of my published novel, The Greedy Barbarian,” Kakwenza says of his latest novel.

He adds, “Because no torture victim has yet gathered the wherewithal to document their ordeal. I’m the first Ugandan author to be arrested for writing a political fiction novel,  and I’m the first Ugandan author to narrate my story without waiting for my tormentors to be catapulted like the past rogue regimes”

Author, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Kakwenza is an advocate against patriarchy, and is focused on uplifting his people from twin shackles of illiteracy and poverty through the NGO he started in 2013, Kakwenza Education Foundation.  Kakwenza is a voracious reader, reading between 50 to 60 books each year. Inspired by President Barack Obama, John Grisham, Dr Kizza Besigye, and Chinua Achebe. For Kakwenza, his religion is humanity and literature. 

When his father passed away last year, the young married activist had to also step into his father’s shoes to become the family’s breadwinner, supporting his widowed mother, his siblings, and young family. 

Live Interview On C. Hub Magazine

On 31 July at 2 pm (BST), Kakwenza will be live on The Tough Talk with Faustina Anyanwu to discuss in details these experiences and how they have shaped his ideals, his view of the world and of course why he has decided to join others to take on what he describes as “the corrupt, kleptocratic and gerontocratic government of Uganda led by President Museveni who has been in power for 34-years.”

ToughTalk With Kakwenza, Ugandan Author arrested for challenging the government.

ToughTalk With Kakwenza, Ugandan Author arrested for challenging the government

Posted by C. Hub magazine on Friday, 31 July 2020
Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu
Faustina Anyanwu is a features writer focusing on people's stories, entrepreneurship, start-ups, social media marketing, and profiling. Follow her on Twitter - @fauntee Official Website: www.faunteebon.com Mantra: Real Women Think Legacy.