Kakwenza Rukirabashaija

Ugandan lawyer and writer Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has fled into exile.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is a Ugandan lawyer and writer of The Greedy Barbarian and Banana Republic: Where Writing is Treasonous. He was named the PEN 2021 Pinter International Writer of Courage Award which he was given by Tsitsi Dangarembga in October.

In December, he wrote a series of insulting tweets about President Yoweri Museveni and his son. The reaction of the administration was to arrest the writer before being released on January 26.

On release, the writer alleged that he had been tortured when he was in custody. In an interview with Al Jazeera Rukirabashaija said that soldiers abducted him, forced him to dance and beat him unconscious after he wrote on Twitter that Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the president’s son and commander of the land forces, was “obese” and a “curmudgeon”.

The writer also shared images of his experience on Facebook stating “for clarification, these are my photos. This is my newly decorated body. I won’t talk about the case now because I respect the courts order not to discuss it.”

The writer has fled into exile to escape the country as he felt that he was not safe in the country of his birth. He fled to Malawi with a plan to head out to Germany for medical treatment.

Speaking to the Daily Monitor he said, “no one knew I was leaving. I travelled alone and was not helped by anyone, even my lawyer was surprised. I’ve been diagnosed with damaged kidneys, bruised ribs, and post-traumatic stress disorder… I don’t know whether I was poisoned.”

This escape into exile follows the fleeing of South African writer Athol Williams in November and Stella Nyanzi who also made her way to Germany.