Satirical novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has raised the Shs40m needed by court to bail out his sureties in less than 10 hours.
Kakwenza, whose four sureties were facing arrest after he jumped bail and fled into exile, on Monday morning posted a message on social media, urging 5,000 people to each contribute Shs8,000 or else his sureties risked being arrested.
And by around 5.40pm, he tweeted that he had received the money.
“I have got UGX40m. Fundraising has been successful. Now waiting for that bespectacled magistrate with fat cheeks & head bereft of the law, to send me the account number to which I’ll make a deposit and save my sureties’ bahookies from sitting in filthy cold jail. Thanks Everyone,” he tweeted.
This came shortly after Buganda Road Court issued an arrest warrant for his four sureties.
According to Chief Magistrate Douglas Singiza, Kakwenza’s sureties would be arrested immediately if they could pay Shs10 million each.
The sureties are; NUP Secretary-General Lewis Rubongoya, Counsel Julius Galisonga, Bob Kiija, and Annah Ashaba.
Kakwenza was on January 25, granted a cash bail of Shs500,000 by 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.
As part of his bail conditions, Kakwenza was directed to deposit his passport with the court for a period of six months. But Kakwenza fled the country days after his bail, reportedly through Rwanda, and settled in Germany under the Writers-in-Exile, a programme that provides grants to authors facing persecution in their home countries.
But on March 23, 2022, when Kakwenza 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. When the matter came up again on Monday, Keko asked the Court to extend the arrest warrant because Kakwenza is yet to be arrested.
Keko asked the same court presided over by Dr Singiza to 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.
While Rubongoya’s lawyer said his client was not served, Ashaba and Kiija’s lawyers said they were served late, over the weekend, yet they were upcountry.
But 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 Shs10 million 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.