Lawyers representing satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija have written to the Chief Magistrate at Buganda Road Court in Kampala, demanding a copy of certified proceedings that culminated into the charging and remanding of their client to Kitalya government prison on Tuesday morning.
Mr Kakwenza, who had been held incommunicado for the last two weeks for allegedly using social media and making abusive and belittling tweets against First Son, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, and his father, President Museveni, was charged before court in the absence of his lawyers and the media.
“We represent the accused (Kakwenza). The accused was charged and remanded to Kitalya prison today (Tuesday). Kindly avail us with copies of the complete certified proceedings in the captioned matter and signed order for the accused’s medical examination,” Kakwenza’s lawyers of Kiiza & Mugisha Advocates wrote to court.
Mr Eron Kiiza, one of Kakwenza’s lawyers, claimed that the move to secretly charge his client was intended not to have Kakwenza seen in public on allegations that he was badly beaten while in detention.
“The secret charging is to allow time for the torture signs to heal to irrigate the propaganda that he was not tortured by security. So too were his family, potential sureties and the media which is the eye of the public,” Mr Kiiza said.
Earlier yesterday, the State explained to Kampala High Court judge Musa Ssekaana that Kakwenza had since been detained at Kitalya prison.
This was because the said judge had given the state up to yesterday to produce the writer dead or alive.
“I Baker Asinja (Acting commissioner custodial service of Uganda prisons), in obedience to the writ, do satisfy and return that Kakwenza is detained in my custody and by virtue of being charged with the offence of offensive communication contrary to Section 25 of the Computer or Misuse Act 2011, has been detained at Kitalya Prison,” read in part the court documents.
Justice Ssekaana held that the application that was before him to have Kakwenza produced “dead” or “alive”, has been overtaken by events since he is now in a known gazetted place.
Prosecution states that Mr Kakwenza on December 24, last year, in Kampala, willfully and repeatedly, used his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira, to disturb the peace of President Museveni and the First Son, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, with no purpose of legitimate communication.
Kakwenza will return to court on January 21 for the state to give an update on how far the investigations have gone and also apply for bail.