MP Zaake charged and remanded to Gulu prison

MP Francis Zaake being escorted by prison officers.

The Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake, was arrested on Thursday night from Railway Goods Shed on Entebbe Road by Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) detectives. Consequently, the legislator was driven to Arua on Friday morning, where he was arraigned in court over charges of escaping from lawful custody. He was granted bail.

Court adjourned the case to March 22. However, he was later rearrested and transferred to Gulu, to face treason charges. Zaake, Kyadondo East MP, Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine and Arua Municipality MP Kassiano Wadri are among the 33 suspects facing charges of treason, assault and malicious damage to property following the chaos that broke out on August 13, last year ahead of the Arua Municipality byelections.

The suspects allegedly pelted President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade with stones. Of all the suspects, it was only Zaake who had not appeared before the court to be charged because he has been bedridden and was later flown abroad for further medical attention. Upon return, Zaake appeared at the CID headquarters for questioning, but never reported back for the Police bond extension until the arrest on Thursday night.

CID top detectives told Saturday Vision that Zaake had jumped bond. The CID spokesperson, Vincent Sekatte explained:

“He (Zaake) had sanctioned fi les, one for treason the other for escaping from lawful custody.”

Zaake was tracked and picked by plain-clothes operatives around Goods Shed on Entebbe Road in a private car at about 9:00pm. According to CID detectives, the car in which the legislator travelled at the time had no rear number plate.

CID is headed by Assistant Inspector General of Police Grace Akullo.  Explaining Zaake’s escape, Sekatte said the legislator hoodwinked offi cers that guarded him while at the medical facility in Arua and fled. Later, gross-images with a swollen face of the legislator were seen on social media while admitted to Rubaga Hospital.

The then Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima, issued a statement saying:

“Zaake was arrested on August 13, 2018, but developed a condition, which necessitated hospitalization and, as a result he was taken to Arua Referral Hospital under Police custody. At the hospital, he was received, admitted and treated.”

Kayima has since been replaced by Fred Enanga. Kayima said the Police allowed the medical personnel to attend to him (Zaake) uninterrupted and in privacy while maintaining guard outside.

“He (Zaake) took advantage of the situation and or aided by some elements to escape from custody,” Kayima said.

The seat (Arua Municipality) fell vacant after the then MP, Ibrahim Abiriga, was on June 8, shot dead, together with his brother, Sayid Kongo Buga by hooded men riding on a bodaboda as he returned to his home in Kawanda, Wakiso district. The clashes in Arua resulted into the shooting to death of Yasin Kawuma, a former driver of Bobi Wine.