Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake Butebi would have spent the weekend and the coming days in prison had he not collapsed while at the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka where he had been held since his arrest last Sunday.
Zaake’s arrest came after he was reportedly found distributing food contrary to orders issued by President Yoweri Museveni that all relief food and other items be taken to the Covid19 national taskforce and distributed to the vulnerable poor.
According to Charles Mansio Twiine, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID), MP Zaake faces charges of doing a negligent act likely to spread an infection of disease Contrary to Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, and disobedience of lawful orders contrary to section 117 of the Penal Code Act.
“It is alleged that without authority from the National/District Anti-Covid19 task force, and without any precautionary measure, Hon. Zaake distributed food to the people in total disregard of the government directives in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic,” said Twiine.
Meanwhile, it has also emerged that the People Power-leaning MP was supposed to be produced in court and would have been remanded to a date beyond the end of the current 21-day Covid19 lockdown. The CID spokesperson confirmed that “investigations upon his arrest were expeditiously conducted, and the charges were accordingly sanctioned by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.”
“Unfortunately, at the time he was to be produced to Court, Hon. Zaake through his lawyers complained of ill health, which prompted the Police to have him examined. Indeed an examination was conducted by the Uganda Police Medical team in the presence of his Lawyers, personal Doctors as well as his dear wife, where by the team unanimously agreed of some treatment to be extended to him,” said Twiine.
Now admitted at the Iran-Uganda Hospital Naguru where he is being treated, police says Zaake is “very conscious and in stable condition.”
But family sources and members of the People Power pressure group insist Zaake is in critical condition. Fellow MP Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine who was blocked from visiting him on April 23 claimed Zaake had been tortured while in detention to the extent that he collapsed and needed medical attention. The MP is expected to be produced in court as soon as he recovers.
Zaake is a close ally of Bobi Wine, who has expressed interest in challenging President Yoweri Museveni in the next presidential election. Museveni has previously accused legislator of escaping from detention after allegedly taking part in the stoning of the president’s convoy in 2018. Whether he skips detention again or not will depend on how fast he recovers. For now, he has temporarily survived being remanded.
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