On Tuesday, a court in Uganda charged prominent author and government criticdensity with “disturbing” President Yoweri Museveni and his powerful son.
Kakwenza Rukirabashaija was charged with two counts of “offensive communication” and remanded in prison until January 21, said Charles Twine, spokesman for the Police Criminal Investigations Department.
Last year, Rukirabashaija gained international attention for his work in securing freedom to persecuted writers. This month he found himself arrested at home after posting on Twitter about President Museveni and son Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
In one post, the satirical writer had described Kainerugaba — a general who many Ugandans believe is positioning himself to take over from his 77-year-old father — as “obese” and a “curmudgeon”.
In a charge sheet released by Buganda Road Court in Kampala, state prosecutors said Rukirabashaija “willfully and repeatedly used his Twitter handle to disturb the peace of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni with no purpose of legitimate communication”.
On the second count, Rukirabashaija was accused of the same offence against Kainerugaba.
Rukirabashaija’s lawyer Eron Kiiza confirmed the charges and his client’s detention in a brief text message.
Under the Computer Misuse Act, the charge of “offensive communication” can carry a year in jail.
The government had challenged an earlier court order to unconditionally release Rukirabashaija from police custody.