Novelist Kakwenza granted bail, re-arrested

Kakwenza

Plain-clothed operatives have re-arrested satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija from Kitalya Prison, moments after he was granted bail.

Kakwenza had been released by Buganda Road Court Chief Magistrate Douglas Singiza on a cash bail of shs 500,000. His four sureties executed none cash bond of shs 10 million each. He was also ordered to deposit his passport with the court.

Kakwenza applied for bail to seek treatment for torture wounds inflicted on him following his arrest on December 28, 2021, for allegedly using his Twitter handle @KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni and his son, Lt General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

After fulfilling his bail conditions, Kakwenza’s lawyers led by Samuel Wanda together with dozens of activists and politicians left for Kitalya to serve the release order to prison authorities and allow Kakwenza to append his signature on the documents.

However, information from Kakwenza’s lawyer, Eron Kiiza, indicated that his client was kidnapped by soldiers suspected to be from the Special Forces Command (SFC), adding that he didn’t have details.

Kakwenza’s friend Simon Wandera who had travelled with the team to pick him explained that they went to Kitalya around midday together with Kakwenza’s wife Eva Basiima and went through the first checkpoint.

He added that since they were many, they were told to wait outside the gate. Only Wandera was granted access to present the court documents.

According to Wandera, as they were waiting outside, two numberless double cabins passed by them and entered the prison premises.

They drove off with Kakwenza, with four people seated on the back of the double cabin vehicle.

Wandera says they tried to call the Officer in charge of the prison in vain as he didn’t pick up his known cellphone number.

He accused prison authorities of handing over Kakwenza to non-relatives.

The Uganda Prisons Spokesperson, Frank Baine has denied surrendering Kakwenza to the wrong people insisting that they handed him over to his relatives after presenting the court order for his release.

He explains that warders escorted Kakwenza up to the prison gate and they are not aware of what happened outside their premises.

This is not the first-time security operatives are re-arresting a suspect shortly after regaining their freedom via court.

In September 2021, Kawempe North MP, Muhammad Ssegirinya together with his Makindye West Counterpart, Allan Ssewanyana were re-arrested shortly after being released on bail by Masaka High Court Judge, Victoria Nakintu Katamba.

Plan cloth security personnel picked up the duo shortly after stepping outside Kigo prisons where they had spent several weeks on remand.

The same scenario has played out with several others suspects.

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