By Farooq Kasule
The Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court in Kampala has renewed arrest warrants against fugitive offensive communication suspect Kakwenza Rukirabashaija.
Grade One Magistrate Fidelis Otwao renewed the arrest warrant against the novelist, who is believed to be in Germany, in the presence of his lawyer, Samuel Ronald Wanda, on Wednesday, July 20.
“Since the accused is not in court, the arrest warrant against him is hereby extended. The matter is adjourned to August 26,” Otwao ruled.
Wanda said he wants the court to first determine the torture application filed by Kakwenza before hearing the case.
“My client was tortured on arrest and we made an application for the court to make a finding over the matter, but unfortunately, it has never been fixed for hearing,” he said.
Asked whether it will not require Kakwenza’s physical presence in court, Wanda said it can be done via Zoom technology.
Wanda also expressed concern that while each of the four sureties paid the sh10m bond for them to be discharged, the court has not done it.
The sureties are National Unity Platform secretary general David Lewis Rubongoya, lawyer Julius Galisonga, Kololo Secondary School teacher Annah Ashaba and activist Job Kiija.
Under the law, it is not automatic that once the surety pays the bond cash, he or she is discharged as the court remains with the final discretion over the matter.
Payment of the bond money only safeguards the surety from the possibility of arrest.
Kakwenza fled the country in April after he was released on sh500,000 cash bail.
This was after he was charged with two counts relating to offensive communication.
Offensive communication offends section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act, 2011 and it elicits a maximum punishment of a year or a fine not exceeding sh480,000 on conviction.
Prosecution alleges that on December 24, 2021 in Kampala district, Kakwenza willfully and repeatedly used his Twitter handle Kakwenza Rukira@KakwenzaRukira to disturb the peace of President Yoweri Museveni with no purpose of legitimate communication.
In another count, Kakwenza is accused of disturbing the peace of the commander of land forces, Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, with no purpose of legitimate communication.
In regard to Gen Muhoozi, it is alleged that on December 26, 2021, Kakwenza willfully and repeatedly used his Twitter handle Kakwenza Rukira@KakwezaRukira to disturb his peace.
Born on November 1, 1988, Kakwenza is not only a renowned critic of the Government, but a self-proclaimed opposition figure.
He has written two books in which he does not only attack the person of the President and members of the First Family, but also the entire Government in general.