By Ivan Mwine
Controversial Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija, who fled into exile a few months ago citing political persecution in Uganda, is crying foul after his children being denied passports by the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control.
Kakwenza, who fled Uganda via Rwanda and later sought refuge in Germany, claims that continuous efforts by relatives to process passports for his three children have failed, yet the officials don’t give any logical explanations as to why.
We have established that following the impasse, Kakwenza has since petitioned the Immigrations department beseeching them to grant his children passport although he is yet to get reply from them.
Sources privy to the matter reveal that on learning about the matter, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) has since decided to conduct an investigation into the same to establish whether the allegations hold water or not.
The sources reveal that Aida Nakiganda, the UHRC Director of Complaints, Investigations and Legal Services, has since written to the Director of the Directorate of Immigration in a letter dated 22nd, June, 2022, demanding an explanation about these allegations which were raised by Eron Kiiza, who is Kakwenza’s lawyer.
Nakiganda’s inquest into the matter stems from a June 20th, letter which Kiiza, representing Kakwenza and his children, wrote to the UHRC, alleging that his clients had been denied passports, which amounted to violation of their rights as Ugandans to own the same.
According to Kiiza, the three children identified as; Rutakirwa Mugabe Kakwenza 2 years, Siima Nyinaboona Kakwenza 4 years and Nina Kayitesti Kakwenza 9 years, are said to have applied for passports on 15th, February, 2022 and did interviews on 10th, March, 2022, but to date they have never gotten them.
Kiiza submitted to the UHRC documents indicating that the application was documented under file No. IMT 6785/13 and Receiving slip No. 218562.
But according to Kiiza, despite numerous efforts to follow up on the application, there has been no reason given to explain the delay by the passport office to issue passports to the children, thereby being denied their right to travel in and out of the country.
However, Nakiganda contends that as UHRC they are yet to receive official communication from the Immigration Department, noting that the Commission has since requested the Director of Citizenship and Immigration Control to furnish the complainant with information regarding the status of their clients’ passports, so that they can explore the option of the appeal process provided for under section 10 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act.
Nakiganda noted that until they receive communication from the Directorate there is nothing much they can do about the matter currently.
She noted that; “The allegations if proved are in contravention of Article 29 (2) of the Constitution and section 39 of the Uganda Citizenship and Immigration Control Act which provides that every Ugandan shall have the right to a passport or other travel documents.”
Kakwenza fled Uganda to Europe in February this year shortly after being granted bail by Buganda Road Magistrates Court following his arrest and torture for allegedly disturbing the peace of Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba and President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
He reportedly fled the country through the Uganda-Rwanda border to fly to Europe due to fears of further torture by the state security apparatus, although he skipped bail and to date his passport is still in court’s custody, because he is still a wanted man.