Ugandan novelist Kakwenza badly tortured: lawyer

Tuesday January 04 2022
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was also held and allegedly tortured last year after writing The Greedy Barbarian, a novel about high-level corruption. FILE PHOTO | DAILY MONITOR | NMG


The lawyer of Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has said his client was tortured while in a week-long detention to an extent that he is urinating blood. 

Mr Eron Kiiza said Mr Rukirabashaija’s legs are swollen and his clothes are blood stained. 

“A search is ongoing at Mr Rukirabashaija’s home in Iganga. He is urinating blood. He has swollen legs. He is clearly tortured. He needs urgent medication and counselling,” Mr Kiiza said.

This is the third time he is being arrested by security personnel. In all incidents, he has claimed that he was tortured. He was arrested in April and September 2020.

Police allege that Mr Rukirabashaija made offensive communication, under the Computer Misuse Act, against President Museveni and his son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who doubles as the Commander of Land Forces, between December 23, 2021 and December 26, 2021.

Although the spokesperson of Criminal Investigations Directorate Charles Twiine confirmed that Mr Kiiza was able to access Mr Rukirabashaija, he said the suspect was not tortured.


“He (Mr Kiiza) is lying. Mr Rukirabashaija wasn’t tortured. He is fine. You will see him when he appears in court tomorrow (Tuesday),” Mr Twiine said.

Mr Rukirabashaija was arrested at his home in Kisasi, a Kampala suburb, last Tuesday. 

Mr Twiine said he repeatedly abused President Museveni and Lt Gen Muhoozi on twitter. 

Right to freedom

Police defended holding him beyond 48 hours mandated in the Constitution saying his rights have limits.
“Article 43 of the Constitution has limitation to rights,” Mr Twiine said. 

However, Article 43 (c) of the Constitution is clear that enjoyment of the rights and freedoms can only be limited in what is acceptable and demonstrably justifiable in a free and democratic society, or what is provided in this Constitution. 

Mr Twiine said they would have processed Mr Rukirabashaija’s file in time, but they were delayed by the festive season. 

“Many people haven’t been in office due to the festive season. He will be taken to court tomorrow (Tuesday),” Mr Twiine said.  

Mr Kiiza said what security forces are doing to his client is an illegality and not justifiable. He said Mr Rukirabashaija was tortured while in detention and he is vomiting blood.

Three years ago, the Inspector General of Police, Mr Martins Okoth-Ochola, issued directives that officers must observe human rights and freedom of suspects, including allowing them to access their relatives and legal representatives as provided for in the law.

The law

According to Section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 on offensive communication, “Any person who wilfully and repeatedly uses electronic communication to disturb or attempts to disturb the peace, quiet or right of privacy of any person with no purpose of legitimate communication whether or not a conversation ensues commits a misdemeanour and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding 24 currency points or imprisonment not exceeding one year or both”.

Twenty-four currency points is an equivalent of Ush480,000 ($134.83).