Uganda: Arrest of Museveni critic sparks debate over freedom of expression

By Musinguzi Blanshe
Posted on Thursday, 13 January 2022 13:09

Ugandan novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija charged with communications offences
Ugandan author of "Greedy Barbarian" Kakwenza Rukirabashaija reads the book at his home in Iganga district in Eastern Uganda May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Abubaker Lubowa

The last message that Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, a Ugandan author tweeted on 28 December 2021 was that gunmen were breaking into his house. And that was his last day of freedom. His detention has triggered debate on shrinking freedom of speech in Uganda on what a person can and can't tweet about the first family.

It’s not the first time that Kakwenza, who was named 2021 International Writer of Courage by PEN was arrested. The award came after a year in which he was arrested twice, allegedly tortured and detained for authoring a satirical novel titled The Greedy Barbarian whose main character Kayibanda has been decrypted to be Museveni.