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Police summon MP Francis Zaake over Arua chaos

Sunday November 18 2018

Uganda's security forces

Uganda's security forces patrol on a street in Kampala on September 21, 2017. Police accuse Mr Zaake of escaping from Arua Central Police Station on August 13. PHOTO | ISAAC KASAMANI | AFP 

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Mityana Municipality lawmaker Francis Zaake has been summoned to appear before the police’s Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Wednesday to be questioned on possible charges of escaping from police custody and treason. 

Mr Zaake told Sunday Monitor that he has received the summonses and will turn up for questioning.


He has, however, described the act of the police as “reckless and traumatising” because he is still recovering from “physical and psychological wounds” that he suffered during the chao before the Arua Municipality by-election in August.

Bugiri Municipality MP and lawyer Asuman Basalirwa, who represents Mr Zaake, also confirmed he will show up for interrogation.

“They arrested me, beat me to near death, threw me at the Lubaga Hospital gate and then they decide that I answer charges that should be against them, the perpetrators. Besides witch-hunt, such an action is persecution,” Mr Zaake said on Saturday.

Police accuse Mr Zaake of escaping from Arua Central Police Station on August 13.

He had been detained after arrest at a hotel on allegations that he incited violence that led to the alleged stoning of President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade.

But he said an "almost dead person" could not have escaped and that the charges against him are a shame.

“Those who saw me at the time imagined me dead. They tied my hands and started to cut various parts of my body using bayonets as others pierced my ears, stomach, back and hands. They beat me up with the butts of their guns, squeezed my ankles, toes, fingers using pliers. They pulled my genitals- those people are bad,” he said.


Mr Zaake's arrest alongside other opposition figures started with brutality that saw Yasin Kawuma, the man who drove him to Arua, killed.

Mr Kwauma was killed in violence on the last day of the Arua parliamentary by-election.

At least 36 people, including five members of parliament were tortured, detained and later charged with treason.

In a letter to Mr Zaake through the Speaker of Parliament, CIID Director Ms Grace Akulo invited Mr Zaake to be quizzed on alleged treason and escape from police custody.

“You are therefore, in pursuance of the provision of Section 27A of the Police Act (as amended), required to appear before the Deputy Director, Investigations, at the CID Headquarters, Kibuli on November 21, 2018 at [9am]. [The director] will guide you on the next course of action,” reads part of the letter signed by the Director of Criminal Investigations, AIGP Grace Akullo.

The letter was dated November 6.