Novelist Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has petitioned the Judicial Service Commission over what he has termed the unprofessional conduct of Justice Dr. Douglas Singiza.
Dr. Singiza, who was recently appointed by President Yoweri Museveni as acting Justice of the High Court was the judicial officer presiding over Kakwenza’s case at Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court.
Kakwenza was first presented before Dr. Singiza at Buganda Road Court on 11th January 2022 and charged with disturbing the peace of the President and offensive communication against President Museveni’s son, the commander of land forces Lt. Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. The writer was said to have insulted Museveni and his son Kainerugaba through messages posted on his twitter page.
Kakwenza says that before he was presented before court, he had been abducted from his home in Kisaasi by 20 men both in civilian and army wear, who beat him with gun butts, punched and kicked him and also confiscated his phone. That they then blindfolded him and took him to Special Forces Command-SFC dungeons in Entebbe where he was illegal detained for 14 days and tortured.
His lawyers led by Eron Kiiza applied before court for his production and on 4th January 2022 Her Worship Irene Nambatya of the Chief Magistrate’s Court of Makindye ruled that Kakwenza’s incommunicado detention was illegal and ordered for his unconditional release.
Security didn’t release Kakwenza but rather produced him before court, on that day of 11th January 2022 when he appeared before Dr. Singiza. Kakwenza says he was produced to court without the knowledge of his lawyer Eron Kiiza “whose office is a stone throw away from the Court premises” and yet court declined to grant him permission to contact his lawyer. He was in court alone with Dr. Singiza and two prosecutors while at the entrance, waited armed men who tortured him led by a one Bill Ndyamuhakyi.
“I raised the issue to the presiding Chief Magistrate, Dr. Singiza Douglas, but he whittled it down” wrote Kakwenza.
He adds that at that time, his hands, ankles and joints were swollen while his thighs, buttocks and back oozed pus due to torture subjected to him during his 14 days illegal custody in SFC.
“I brought it to the Chief Magistrate’s attention, who witnessed my tortured condition but shockingly rushed to remand me to Kitalya Prison in total disregard of the domestic human rights laws and other regional, continental and international charters that Uganda is signatory to” wrote Kakwenza.
Later, Kakwenza was granted bail of 500,000 shillings, asked to deposit his passport and stopped from talking about his torture. Again, before he could regain his partial freedom, he was allegedly kidnapped by gunmen from Kitalya Prison premises and taken to Makindye Military Police Barracks where he was detained for hours before he was taken to his country home in the Eastern district of Iganga.
To him, Dr. Singiza wasn’t impartial while presiding over this matter and appeared to “have been remote-controlled” by people Kakwenza says tormented him.
“His actions were against The Uganda Code of Judicial Conduct who he MUST be subservient to as he dispenses justice” he added
Kakwenza says that the actions of his tormenters offended the laws of the country and Dr. Singiza gave them a judicial platform and best drums for them to dance on the sacredness of the inviolable provisions of the law.
“He not only failed to report my torture as required by law but also condoned and worsened it by remanding me in a visible tortured state contrary to logic and the law, ” penned Kakwenza.
He hence asked the Judicial Service Commission to respond quickly, possibly in a week from 25th May 2022 and act accordingly against a judicial officer whose actions he says do not dispense justice but cause great suffering to the victims of gross human rights violations.
His petition has been received by the registry of the Commission, Inspector of Courts, Court of Judicature, Chief Justice of Uganda, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs, Chambers of the Principal Judge Office of the Speaker of Parliament and Buganda Road Chief Magistrate’s Court.
Currently, Kakwenza is in Germany where he escaped to after he had been granted bail. His Sureties were made to pay after he escaped.
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