VIDEO: Bobi Wine, Francis Zaake in Entebbe airport drama
Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, and Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake have been blocked by police from flying out of Uganda for treatment abroad.
Mr Wine was blocked at the airport by security forces on Thursday evening while Mr Zaake, who had been bedridden, was arrested when he reached Entebbe Airport on the same day.
The two were taken to Kiruddu General Hospital.
Mr Zaake was to travel as doctors at Lubaga Hospital reportedly said they could no longer help him, while Mr Wine intended to seek specialised treatment for the serious injuries he suffered in the hands of Arua security forces.
Mr Kyagulanyi’s elder brother said he was to go to a USA facility for scans on a problematic hip and organs.
“We do not know how long we shall be there but the doctors will be able to tell us according to their prescription. We shall be setting off from Entebbe airport this evening (yesterday),” Mr Eddy Yawe said by phone earlier.
Regarding the report from Lubaga doctors, Managing Director Dr Peter Kibuuka neither admitted nor denied that they could help him but said they could not block “someone’s choice.” Mr Zaake had been at the facility for about two weeks.
The officers who arrested Mr Zaake took his passport and boarding pass as well as those belonging to his wife Bridget Namirembe who was with him.
“You cannot go from here unless you present travel clearance from the Criminal Investigations Department,” the Chief of Joint Security Operations at Entebbe Airport, Mr James Ruhweza, told the MP in the VIP lounge where he had been delivered in an ambulance en route to Manipal Hospital in India.
In a statement on why Mr Zaake was barred from leaving, police noted that he is facing charges for offences committed during the Arua Municipality by-election chaos about two weeks ago.
Public relations officer, Mr Emilian Kayima, said: “During the recently concluded by-election in Arua Municipality, several offences were committed by some people.
“The offences included treason, assault, malicious damage to property…. Investigations revealed a number of suspects, including Hon Francis Zaake Mutebi who either directly and or indirectly occasioned these offences. Thirty three of the suspects are already charged before court…”
Mr Zaake is one of the Opposition politicians and civilians who were violently arrested during the Arua chaos where President Yoweri Museven’s car was allegedly stoned. Several others, including his co-MPs and others have already been charged with treason.
ATTEMPT TO FLEE
Mr Kayima claimed that when Mr Zaake was arrested on August 13, he was taken to Arua Hospital and admitted but that he escaped from custody while being treated.
He said police later discovered he was at Lubaga Hospital in Kampala but refrained from interrupting his treatment.
The PR officer said that police went to Lubaga with the intention of taking Mr Zaake to Mulago Hospital for government doctors to examine him but that the hospital authorities declined to hand him over.
The statement stated: “This morning (Thursday) police found Hon Zaake at Entebbe International Airport trying to flee the country and accordingly apprehended him. He will be taken to Mulago Hospital for examination and or further management while under police custody as earlier intended. He will be produced before court at an appropriate time.”
Mr Zaake reached the airport in an ambulance at 11.40am. He was to travel on Ethiopian Airlines but by 5pm he had missed three flights, two being at 1.30pm and 3.35pm.
Calls were made between Kampala and Entebbe but there was nothing useful.
The frail MP accused the state of persecution.
“They tortured me to cover up the killing of Yasin Kawuma and retaliate on what looked to them as a loss of polls. They refused to pay for my medical and my family devised means and they are now denying me exit,” he said.
“Could it be that they want me dead? Going to Mulago Hospital will be by force. It’s not my conscience, I would rather die here from the airport.”
Last evening, a CID team led by Ms Grace Akullo, went to the Airport in the company of Dr Moses Byaruhanga, the police director of medical services, to oversee Mr Zaake’s transfer to Mulago.
“The (reason we are here) is to communicate to you that Mr Zaake cannot travel because of what we agreed in the morning security meeting,” Dr Byaruhanga said.
On Tuesday, Ms Akullo went to Lubaga Hospital to pick Mr Zaake but the hospital authorities refused to surrender him.
At the airport, tempers flared as MPs including Ms Babirye Kabanda (Masaka District Women), Mr Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West), Mr Elijah Okupa (Kasiro County) and Bugiri Municipality MP Mr Asuman Basalirwa demanded that Mr Zaake travels.
Ms Kabanda said Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda told her that a security meeting in Kampala resolved that the government pay for Mr Zaake’s treatment on condition of medical examination by its medical experts.
“The Prime Minister also says Mr Zaake escaped, so police would like to interview him but he has given an assurance that Mr Zaake will travel.”
Mr Ssewanyana said that on arrival at the airport, head of the police Mr Oloka told their colleague would not travel.
He said: “The family has met Sh200 million expenses. Why would the government stop him from travelling?
Mr Basalirwa pointed out: “Mr Zaake is a citizen who cannot escape from the country. Let them not create bad scenes.”