Uganda: Activist Author Redetained And Tortured
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is a Ugandan activist, writer and law student who is well known for writing the books, "The Banana Republic” and "The Greedy Barbarian”. He has also authored an opinion piece titled “Uganda perhaps needs own brand of democracy called 'Musevenocrazy'. In this piece he wrote that President Museveni is the worst president that Uganda has ever had. He is also political activist linked to the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party and vied for the Member of Parliament seat for Rubaho constituency in the January 2021 general election. He also documented cases of police killings and brutality during the recently ended Covid-19 lockdown in Uganda.
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was arrested in connection to Twitter posts he made between 26 and 28 December 2021 which the Uganda Police Force claims were meant to disturb the peace of Lieutenant General Muhoozi Keinerugaba, the son of President Yoweri Museveni. In one tweet, he described Lieutenant General Muhoozi Keinerugaba as “obese”, “inebriated curmudgeon” and a “pig-headed curmudgeon”. He had also tweeted that “the Musevenis [in reference to the President’s family] have imposed enormous suffering on this country”.
This is not the first time Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been arrested and arbitrarily detained in connection to his critical views of the President and his son. He was first arrested in April 2020 on trumped-up charges of defamation and cyber related crimes for authoring a book titled ‘‘The Greedy Barbarian” which criticized the greed and corruption by the ruling first family of Uganda. He was eventually released on 6 May 2020. He was rearrested on 18 September 2020 because of his book ‘‘Banana Republic”, published in July 2020, which recounts how he was tortured by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence during his April 2020 detention. He was released on 6 May 2020 and 21 September 2020 after being charged with ‘doing an act likely to spread the infection of disease’ and ‘inciting violence’, respectively.
The Government of Uganda has been increasingly using practices such as arbitrary arrest and detention to systematically harass, intimidate and stifle its critics. Many restrictions have been placed on the rights to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly of political opposition members, journalists, human rights defenders and students because they are perceived as a threat to the government.