State Minister for Internal Affairs Obiga Kania told parliament on Wednesday that Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake Butebi harmed himself, occasioning the severe injuries to his body during his arrest and detention late last month.
While presenting a comprehensive report before parliament as directed by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Minister Obiga concurred with the statements made by police officers who were involved in Zaake’s arrest that he indeed injured himself while in police cells and during transportation.
Zaake was arrested on April 19th April 2020 from his home in Mityana by police led by the RPC of Wamala Region Bob Kagarura, for allegedly flouting presidential directives by distributing food items to his constituents.
About a week later on April 27th, the MP was brought to court in Mityana, while being carried on a stretcher, as he wailed seemingly in pain.
In his report to parliament however, Minister Kania, quoting police officers, said Zaake’s injuries were self-inflicted as he resisted to be transferred to the CID Headquarters in Kampala, where according to the minister, he had to be taken following intelligence that his supporters were plotting to invade the police station in Mityana where he was initially held.
Hon Zaake, the minister says, “refused to move out” of the cell and that other officers had to be called in to force him out.”
“Hon. Zaake held the metallic door of the cells and also placed his leg one side in between the metal bars so that it is difficult for the police to pull him out. The FFU personnel pulled out Hon Zaake by force from the metallic bars that he had held onto for support. AIP Masaba called some of his personnel to help him remove Hon Zaake forcefully from the cells,” he said
The Minister also adds that Zaake had to be restrained with two handcuffs on either arm, and that he used these cuffs to injure himself while being transported in the police truck.
The Minister, quoting one CPL Lomokol said Hon Zaake “was shouting and hitting he metallic seats of the 999 using his arms and legs.”
Zaake, later on after complaining of too much pain, had to be taken to the Iran Uganda Hospital where one Dr. Nuwamanya, confirmed that he had suffered blunt injuries on the forehead, earlobes, right and left of the chest, right side flank, right upper arm, right wrist, lower lip, left leg and left leg shin.
The Minister told the House that he concurred with the Police statements, considering that injuries on the MP were only on the front part of his body and not the back.
“It is probable that Hon. Zaake could have inflicted himself. According the statement of the car commander, Hon. Zaake kept on knocking himself on the metals of the pick-up. It is probable that these injuries were as a results of the knocking,” the Minister said.
The minister’s report however is inconclusive on how Hon Zaake could have suffered the damage on his eyes. The MP claims he was pepper sprayed multiple times and that a teargas canister was applied on him on instructions of the officers in charge of the arrest to blind his eyes.
Seemingly not convinced by the Minister’s submission, Speaker Kadaga tasked Obiga Kania to demonstrate before the house how MP Zaake could have injured himself while still on handcuffs as read in the report to which he tried to deny responsibility by stressing that he was just reading a report by the investigators in the case and sought shelter in his recommendation that thorough investigations were still necessary to get to the bottom of the matter.
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