Ugandan critical writer Kakwenza wins another award

Uganda critical writer, Kakwenza Rukirabashaija has been announced as the winner of the “Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent” award.

The 35-year-old lawyer and writer was awarded for his  “Banana Republic” and “The Greedy Barbarian” books in which he takes aim at the political ills of the country.

The two books have landed him into jail and torture which later prompted him to flee the country into exile in Germany.

Kakwenza’s  laudator in Oslo, also  Serbian creative activist Srdja Popović, pointed out that this was the first time the prize had been awarded to a novelist.


He praised the Ugandan writer’s  art form of “radical rudeness”, which he said  is the welcome opposite of “political correctness”.

“I will not stop unveiling the atrocities of the dictatorship and fighting for truth, justice and human dignity,” Kakwenza said of the award.

Kakwenza last year won the PEN Prize international writer of courage award for 2022 .


Kakwenza was first arrested in 2020 for authoring the famous The Greedy Barbarian , a political fiction in which he wrote about ills like corruption and dictatorship in a fictious country.

On released, he penned ‘Banana Republic; Where writing is treasonous’ in which he gave an account of his ordeal while in detention.

In December 2021, the critical writer was abducted from his home by security operatives and detained him for several days at an undisclosed location that neither his lawyers nor his relatives were allowed access.

He was slapped with  charges related to offensive communication contrary to section 25 of the Computer Misuse Act 2011 for allegedly abusing President Museveni and the Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba through social media.

He was later released on bail on medical grounds but he later fled the country into exile.

The writer also noted he will neve honour the proceedings before the Buganda Road Chief Magistrates Court which up to now has his passport.

Meanwhile, months later, offensive communication charges with which he had been charged were outlawed by court.

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