Ugandan writers kick over arrest of novelist who criticised President Museveni’s son

Writers and poets in Uganda have condemned the arrest of award-winning Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who has been detained after he criticised President Yoweri Museveni’s son.

No charge has been levelled against Mr Rukirabashaija.

The president of Uganda’s Poets Association Ronald Sekajja told VOA that Mr Rukirabashaija’s arrest was used to reinforce fear among writers, adding that it shows the government will not allow criticism.

“If anyone thinks it comes up as abuse or as insult, then charges need to be placed and they take him to face the law. I think our biggest concern as the writing community is the manner in which he is arrested and no charges are placed and he’s been in detention,” Mr Sekajja said.

Mr Rukirabashaija had taken to Twitter calling Mr Museveni’s son, Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, “obese, drunk, bad-tempered, and a rotting corpse of a future president.”

Mr Rukirabashaija then tweeted, “currently under house arrest. Gunmen are breaking into my house by force.” 

Police spokesperson Fred Enanga said Mr Rukirabashaija is being held on charges of offensive communication under the Computer Misuse Act.

“The cybercrime department is investigating him for offensive communication,” Mr Enanga is quoted by the East African as saying. 

Mr Rukirabashaija, popularly known for his novel The Greedy Barbarian,  was this year named the International Writer of Courage at the PEN Pinter Prize ceremony. The award is given to someone who has been persecuted for speaking out about their beliefs.

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