Yesterday (Friday February 23) was a long day form Mityana Municipality Member of Parliament, Francis Butebi Zaake. The youthful legislator was arraigned in two courts; Arua and Gulu on the same day, whereas he was granted bail in one, he was remanded by another.
Zaake’s troubles emanate from August last year, and two dates should be clear to his mind today; the 13th and 14th of August 2018.
It is alleged that Zaake with 33 others while campaigning for Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, Kassiano Ezati Wadri intercepted the presidential convoy and pelted stones at the motorcade, in the event breaking one of the rear glasses on one of the armoured vehicles that president Museveni claimed was for storing luggage.
Museveni’s spokesperson, Don Wanyama would later that night share images of the alleged vehicle without its glass, and a serious debate online ensued. Many argued that the bullet proof car would not just be damaged by mere hand-thrown stone! While government insisted Museveni’s convoy car was indeed stoned.
The same car would then be driven across town to a garage for fixing, another move the social media audience saw as spin.
In a longer explanation via social media days later, Museveni confirmed indeed his car had been stoned and lavished praise for his armed men for exercising very religious caution by refusing to pull the triggers on their guns despite being capable to pour magazines within the rowdy political crowds.
Many were rounded up, Kyandondo legislator Robert Kyagulanyi was battered and stored for sometime, while Francis Zaake later appeared dumped at a hospital in Kampala, knocked out.
The government would later claim that Zaake had- with the help of other people thinking like him- escaped from police custody. He was later charged on his sick bed and allowed to proceed abroad for treatment.
Zaake returned to the country and four months later was quizzed for hours at CID headquarters in Kibuli, charges of treason were preferred against him and was granted bond until December 5 2018.
Zaake however refused to return to police for mandatory reporting as required by bond terms. He was presumed ill and he made clear he was not yet well, however, the legislator would on one night turn up for Bobi Wine’s concert in Busabala, this could have been pinned on Police and Government’s chess board as an opportunity for a check-mate.
The Chess game starts
With Zaake jumping bond, and police causing several reasons for him to show up, another move was mooted and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Mike Chibita sanctioned Zaake’s charges in January, which meant that it was fait accompli- Zaake was to be arrested.
On hearing this, Zaake’s lawyers led by Nicholas Opiyo and Medard Lubega Ssegona ran to CID’s Grace Akullo to thwart the arrest. They wanted an extension of the bond as well.
While there, they found the police armed with the same excuse Zaake had been using, they were told Akullo is too sick to attend to their matters. They kept pushing but were told she is even admitted in hospital, so no chance.
The lawyers were asked to put their request in writing to Akullo for consideration. They highlighted that Zaake needed bail extension because he was not yet well. However, the same legislator was time and again seen in public very fit and healthy.
On that note, Akullo did not send through any reply, hence, Zaake’s goose was cooked.
Early in February, Zaake was again spotted in Kyadondo with Bobi Wine visiting the latter’s constituents and delivering items to them. It was signal enough he was fit but not responding to his bond requirements.
A week later on February 21st, Police arrested Zaake for skipping his bond, transferred him to Arua chief magistrates court and bailed on Shs50m (non cash) until 22 March.
His freedom was however short-lived as he was arrested and taken to Gulu court for charging and consequent remand.
Why arrested in Arua?
According to the police, they were working basing on Zaake’s previous record of failure to appear when required and his ability to teleport from custody.
“The accused was rearrested on the substantial risk that he would fail to appear in Gulu Court,” a statement from police claims.
Police claim that Zaake just like other politicians have a tendency of skipping bond and other legal procedures by particularly politicising matters hence his re-arrest was “necessary for the integrity of the criminal justice system’.
The author is a contributor to Nile Post