Ailing Zaake Transfered from Lubaga, to be Evacuated to India for Treatment

MP Francis Zaake while he was hospitalized at Lubaga hospital.

Ailing Mityana municipality legislator, Francis Zaake has been transfered from Lubaga hospital to be evacuated to India for specialized medical treatment.

Zaake has been hospitalized at Lubaga hospital for over a week now due to what he claims was torture by security personnel during his arrest in Arua district on August 13. He was among people who were initially arrested when chaos broke out on the last day of campaigning in the Arua municipality by-election.

Days later, it emerged that he was admitted in Kampala, at Lubaga hospital. He has not managed to sit or walk since then.

On Thursday, Zaake was transferred from the hospital to enable him access further treatment abroad.

His lawyer and fellow legislator, Asuman Basalirwa told reporters at Lubaga hospital that Zaake will be flown to India where he will get specialised treatment.

But this comes a day after Police spokesperson, Emilian Kayima said that Police wanted Zaake transfered to Mulago hospital. Police wrote to the authorities at Lubaga hospital on Wednesday asking them to have the legislator moved to Mulago so that he could be examined by specialists. It remains unclear why.

Police recently accused Zaake of escaping from its custody while he was receiving medical treatment in Arua. Kayima said that the MP is likely to have colluded with some medics to escape.

“He had wanted to see a doctor. He said he had a medical condition, so, he was taken to Arua to the hospital. Either he escaped or he was aided to escape and he surfaced in Rubaga hospital,” Kayima said last week.

Asked on the fate of the MP, he said that the next action would be taken after he received his treatment.

“We are taking Hon Zaake to India for further treatment. If Police want him, he is returning on September 30, we shall bring him if they need him,” Basalirwa said on Thursday.

“But the good thing is - Zaake has no case. When we were at Gulu Magistrate’s court and the Gulu High Court, he was not on the charge sheet. So, there is nothing that stops him from going for medical treatment,” he further told the press.

Basalirwa said that given Zaake’s role as an MP, he has an obligation to return to Uganda so he can represent his constituency, thus his travel abroad poses no risk.

“It isn’t like he is going to seek an asylum in India. He is a responsible person, and an MP”.

The lawyer however expressed fears about the allegations that Police and the army had been deployed at Entebbe International Airport to block Zaake from being flown to India.

“We have learnt that Police and the army have sealed off the airport. We shall see how we shall handle the situation,” Basalirwa said.

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