Government critic and Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is finally in Europe, former Presidential Candidate, Dr. Kizza Besigye revealed.
“Thank God, tortured Mr. Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has arrived safely in Europe. He can now have proper medical evaluation and treatment. And, certainly, his mouth and pen are now free! Thanks to all who’ve been helpful to get him there. The struggle continues,” Besigye said on social media.
Kakwenza arrived in Germany today where he was earlier invited by the PEN Centre.
“The German PEN Center is happy to welcome the persecuted Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija to Germany! Today Rukirabashaija arrived safely here, he is under the care of friends and PEN,” PEN Germany confirmed on their social media.
Last year he was awarded the international PEN Pinter Prize in the category “Bravest Writer”. After his last arrest, the German PEN Center appointed him an honorary member in January 2022.
Earlier this month, Kakwenza fled into exile after Buganda Road Magistrate Dr. Douglas Singinza declined release his passport on grounds that he can get specialised treatment within the country. Kakwenza who was out on bail had petitioned court seeking for released of his passport to seek treatment in Europe after he being tortured by unrevealed security agencies.
Kakwenza was arrested at Kisaasi after a three days twitter feud with supporters of UPDF Land forces commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Kakwenza averred that Muhoozi’s supporters were allegedly bullying him for criticizing President Yoweri Museveni.
Kakwenza is facing two counts of offensive communication, contrary to Section 25 of the computer misuse act 2011.
Prosecution avers that Kakwenza on 24th December 2021 in the Kampala District, willfully and repeatedly used his Twitter handle to commit cases of offensive communication against the President of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and the first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, with no purpose of legitimate communication.
Rukirabashaija is the author of the novel The Greedy Barbarian, which takes on themes of high-level corruption in a fictional country. He was arrested on 13 April 2020 in Uganda, and held for seven days, during which time he was interrogated about his fiction and subjected to torture and later released. Rukirabashaija details this treatment in his latest work banana republic: Where Writing is Treasonous.