The Director of Public Prosecutions has informed Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court that investigations into the offensive communication charges against satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija are complete and they are ready to start the trial.
This was communicated by State Attorney Joan Keko before court presided over by Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza, when Kakwenza returned to court to be informed on the status of investigations.
For more than a month, the police have been investigating Kakwenza on allegations of having used his Twitter handle, @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son, Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba with no purpose of legitimate communication.
According to the prosecutors, these crimes were respectively committed on December 26th and 28th 2021.
Keko told court that the police have finished the investigations and they were ready to share the evidence they intend to use against Kakwenza with his lawyers in order for both parties to prepare themselves for the trial.
On his part, Kakwenza through his lawyers led by Eron Kiiza asked court to relax his bail terms and have his passport back to necessitate his travel to Germany for purposes of seeking treatment for alleged torture and picking of his award from Germany.
Court last week ordered Kakwenza to deposit his passport as security when he was being granted bail and the Chief Magistrate indicated that this order can be reviewed from time to time.
Concerning the awards, on January 11th 2022, the very day when Kakwenza was remanded to Kitalya Min Max Prison, he was appointed as an Honorary Member of Pen International, an organization of writers expressing their freedoms of expression and literature.
The same organization had also in October 2021 awarded Kakwenza the International Writer of Courage. This is an annual award given to someone who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.
After hearing from both sides, the Chief Magistrate advised Kakwenza and his lawyers to return to court today, February 2nd 2022 to make a formal application for relaxation of bail terms.
Speaking to Uganda Radio Network, lawyer Kiiza noted that they want court to dismiss the charges against Kakwenza on grounds of torture or refer the file to the High Court to investigate and that the charges against him were written in a manner that doesn’t give him an opportunity to say anything about them.
This he said is because the charges don’t show exactly what Kakwenza posted on his Twitter handle.
Kakwenza is an author of books such as “the Greedy Barbarian” which talks about a dictator who overstays in power 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 allegedly tortured.
Kakwenza has since sued the government seeking compensation for infringement of his rights after he was kept in unknown detention in 2020, where he was reportedly tortured and kept incommunicado. But his case is yet to be determined by the High court.
Kakwenza who resurfaced in Iganga district after being rearrested from prison premises immediately after securing bail was barred from speaking to the media about his case at Buganda Road Court.
Lawyer Male Mabirizi has since petitioned the East African Court of Justice to quash the charges against Kakwenza. URN