Uganda: Magistrate Refuses To Charge Sick Mp

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Mityana Chief Magistrate Court has ordered Uganda Police Force (UPF) to ensure that Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake Butebi gets proper medical attention before they can return him to the temple of justice for formal charges and trial.

On Monday, police had wheeled MP Zaake from his Naguru Iran-Uganda Hospital before he was carried into a vehicle and driven to Mityana to be charged. Upon arrival at Court, the frail-looking MP was again carried into the courtroom.

Zaake was transferred from Special Investigations Unit (SIU) in Kireka to Naguru Hospital last week after he collapsed. Police has vehemently denied reports that the MP, allied to Robert Kyagulanyi’s People Power pressure group, had been tortured while in detention.

“He has not been poisoned or had his ribs broken like some people are saying. He is in good condition contrary to reports that he is dead,” Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga said before it emerged that Zaake was in a poor physical state.

His arrest happened over a week ago after he was reportedly found distributing relief food items to his constituents contrary to President Yoweri Museveni’s directive barring politicians from engaging in food distribution, a role he said should be a reserve of the national Covid19 taskforce headed by Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda.

A statement issued by Criminal Investigations Directorate spokesperson Charles Mansio Twiine days ago indicated that Zaake would face charges of doing a negligent act likely to spread an infection or disease contrary to Section 171 of the Penal Code Act, and Disobedience of lawful orders contrary to section 117 of the Penal Code Act.

On Monday, Magistrate Elias Kakooza of Mityana Chief Magistrate Court declined to formally charge Zaake. A short statement by the Judiciary said that the Court’s decision to halt the process had been reached at “after he was taken to the Court on a stretcher and visibly ill. The Court has ordered the Police to first take the MP to a proper medical facility for treatment.”

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