Ailing Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake has refuted the claims by President Yoweri Museveni and the Police that he escaped from lawful custody, saying he was unconscious and there is no way he could have escaped.
The legislator who faces charges of treason and unlawful escape from Police custody addressed reporters on Monday morning from his home in Nalumunye, Mityana where he is still getting medical treatment.
During the press conference, Zaake gave an account of what transpired in Arua repeating that he was badly tortured to a point of unconsciousness.
“I was beaten, tortured to the extent that I would feel no pain. I was taken to places unknown to me. From the time when they got me from the hotel where they tortured me from to the van, I could not understand,” Zaake told the press on Monday.
“From what my colleagues have told me, I was taken to Arua Police station and then I hear to a hospital but I’m not sure about that,” he added.
He dared the Police to provide proof that he was at any point in time admitted at Arua hospital.
Responding to the allegations that he escaped from Police custody only to appear in Lubaga hospital in Kampala, Zaake said there was no way this could have been possible give the state in which he was.
“I am supposed to ask Police personnel, if they say I escaped from lawful custody, they should prove to the world. How did I get from Arua because I took myself to Arua together with Bobi Wine’s driver whom they killed”.
He says he only recounts being pushed beneath a seat in a mini bus after which he lost his consciousness until days later when he was in Lubaga hospital.
The claim that Zaake had escaped from police custody was first made by President Museveni on August 19 in a statement responding to the incident in Arua.
“Hon Zaake escaped from police custody. The police are looking for him,” the President said at the time.
A day later, Police spokesperson, SSP Emilian Kayima confirmed at a news conference that Zaake had indeed escaped but he [Kayima] could not reveal how.
“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 Lubaga hospital,” Kayima said.
However, on Monday, the MP wondered; “Can someone who is unconscious be able to escape?”
“According to my colleagues, Hon Mwiru, Hon Karuhanga, Hon Kassiano who saw me, they say SFC after battering me to near death abandoned me at Arua police station. They [colleagues] protested and requested that one of them escorts me to know how I would be treated but they (Police) didn’t allow that,” he said.
“Why would they [Police] say I escaped yet it’s them who took me wherever I went to?”
He says he gained his consciousness while at Lubaga hospital and suspects that Police “felt comfortable dropping me at the hospital entrance”.
Zaake has demanded a comprehensive report on the security personnel who beat him and other colleagues in Arua as well as the people responsible for deaths in Mityana.
Zaake together with over 30 other suspects including four MPs (Bobi Wine, Gerald Karuhanga, Paul Mwiru and Kassiano Wadri) are facing charges of treason.
All suspects were arrested following the chaos that broke out on August 13, the last day of campaigning in the Arua municipality by-election, and have since been released on bail.
The State accuses them of pelting stones at the motorcade of President Yoweri Museveni who was in Arua on the same day, with an intent to harm the person of the President.
Zaake has been hospitalized for over one month and recently returned from India where he had been flown to receive specialized treatment.