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Kakwenza launches fundraiser as court issues warrant of arrest against his sureties

Crime

Kakwenza launches fundraiser as court issues warrant of arrest against his sureties

Four people who stood surety for exiled satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija are in trouble after the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court issued a warrant of arrest against them.

These are the Secretary-General of the NUP Party David Lewis Rubongoya, Lawyer Julius Galisonga, Annah Ashaba, a teacher at Kololo Secondary School and an Activist Job Kiija.

The warrant against the four was issued after Kakwenza who is facing charges of offensive communication failed to appear before the court for the second time in a row.

Kakwenza fled the country after securing 500,000 Shillings bail, which was granted to him on January 25, by the Buganda Road Court, after nearly a month under detention for offences related to a series of tweets he posted about President Yoweri Museveni and his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Kakwenza was directed to deposit his passport with the court for a period of six months. However, Kakwenza fled the country days after his bail, allegedly through Rwanda, and settled in Germany under the Writers-in-Exile, a program that provides grants to authors facing persecution in their home countries. 

On March 23, 2022, when the writer was expected to appear before the court, State Attorney Joan Keko asked for a warrant of arrest against him and notices to his sureties to explain why they shouldn’t be arrested. Today, when the matter came up again, Keko asked the Court to extend the arrest warrant because Kakwenza is yet to be arrested.

She further prayed that the same Court presided over by the Chief Magistrate Dr Douglas Singiza issue a warrant of arrest against the sureties on grounds that although the notices requiring them to appear before the Court were duly served, they still failed to show up.

Rubongoya’s lawyer said his client was not served, while Ashaba and Kiija’s lawyers said they were served late, over the weekend, yet they were upcountry. 

Julius Galisonga said he was unwell, but also challenged the jurisdiction of the Buganda Road Court to issue the notice.

In his ruling, Dr Singiza said that the sureties are ‘trying to stop water that is passing under the bridge’ and ordered that, the four sureties should be arrested and forced to pay the 10 million Shillings that each of them committed in the event that Kakwenza skips bail.  

He added that if the sureties pay that money, they will each be set free and their respective warrants of arrest will be cancelled.

Meanwhile, Kakwenza has launched a fundraising drive on social media with the intent to collect the money on behalf of the sureties.
“My friends who stood surety for me owe court 40m because I fled the country for my life. It’s now incumbent on me now to raise the money and pay court–in respect of summons–but I’m broke as a mouse. I’m looking for 5,000 people who can manage to send UGX8,000 to MTN +256785367367 registered as Kakwenza Rukirabashaija,” Kakwenza posted on Twitter and Facebook.

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