PEN Germany has appointed novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, a fearless critic of first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba and his father President Yoweri Museveni, a honorary member.
Ralf Nestmeyer, the Vice President in charge of Writers in Prison, explained that Rukirabashaija was famous for his outstanding literary work and that he had continuously recalled “the utmost importance of freedom of expression in our days.”
Issued at Darmstadt on January 11, 2022, Rukirabashaija’s certificate was received by Eron Kiiza of Kiiza and Mugisha Advocates in Kampala on January 14.
Counsel Kiiza said Uganda Prisons “blocked his [Kakwenza’s] guests from seeing him” and delivering the certificate of honorary appointment.
His Honorary Certificate issued at Darmstadt on 11th January, 2022 was received by his lawyer Eron Kiiza in Kampala on Friday.
PEN Germany, which has appointed the PEN 2021 International Writer of Courage its honorary member, is part of the worldwide association of writers founded in London in 1921, now known as PEN International.
Based in Darmstadt, Hesse, PEN Germany is one of the over 140 autonomous PEN centres around the world. It supports the Writers in Prison and Writers in Exile program as well as the Hermann Kesten Medal for outstanding services to persecuted authors.
Opposition leader Dr Kiiza Besigye and academic Dr Stella Nyanzi were some of the prominent Ugandans that congratulated Rukirabashaija on his appointment.
“The PEN Germany, appoints Mr Kakwenza Rukirabashaija an Honorary Member!This is while he’s in critical condition in Kitalya prison following intense torture by members of Special Forces Command (SFC) and Police. Thanks PEN Germany. Danke schoen,” wrote Besigye.
Nyanzi said: “Tonight, I join several others to congratulate Kakwenza Rukirabashaija for his appointment as an honorary member of PEN Germany. While the brutal dictatorship in Uganda unjustly tortures and locks up Kakwenza for his freedom of expression, the international community is celebrating him for ‘his outstanding literary work, continuously recalling the utmost importance of freedom of expression in our days. Thank you Counsel Eron Kiiza for receiving the honorary certificate on his behalf, while our comrade sleeps battered and brutalized in prison.”