The Greedy Barbarian Ugandan Author Indicted Over Museveni Tweets

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Award-winning Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been charged with two counts of “offensive communication” after making unflattering comments about the president and his son on Twitter.

The prosecution alleged that he had “used his Twitter account to disturb the peace” of President Yoweri Museveni and his son, Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Mr. Rukirabashaija has pleaded not guilty to the charges, local media report.

He had tweeted that Lieutenant General Muhoozi was “obese” and a “curmudgeon.”

The author had also tweeted that “the Museveni have imposed enormous suffering on this country.”

President Museveni, 77, has been in power in Uganda since 1986, and it was long speculated that he was grooming his son, a powerful figure in the military, to succeed him.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is best known for The Greedy Barbarian, a satirical novel describing high-level corruption in a fictional country, and Banana Republic: Where Writing is Treasonous, an account of the torture he was subjected to while in detention in 2020.

Last year won the Pen Pinter Award for an international writer of courage.

Local opposition parties and civil society groups – along with the United States and the European Union – have called for the writer’s release since his arrest on December 28.

On Tuesday, Rukirabashaija appeared in court in the capital Kampala for the first time since he was arrested.

His lawyer, Eron Kiiza, told the magistrate that the 33-year-old author’s health was deteriorating.

Mr. Kiiza had previously alleged that Mr. Rukirabashaija had been tortured in custody.

The author has been charged with two counts of “offensive communication” under the Computer Misuse Act.

The prosecution alleged that Mr. Rukirabashaija had “deliberately and repeatedly used his Twitter account to disturb the peace of His Excellency the President of the Republic of Uganda, General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, without any legitimate communication purpose.”

He faces a similar charge in relation to the president’s son.

If convicted, Mr. Rukirabashaija could be jailed for up to one year, according to the Reuters news agency.

The magistrate ordered the preventive detention of Mr. Rukirabashaija and the case was postponed until January 21.

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