Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga has tasked Internal Affairs Minister Gen. Jeje Odongo to explain to the House circumstances under which the Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake was tortured in police custody.
Zaake was transferred from Kiruddu Hospital to Rubaga Hospital last week for treatment following alleged torture. The transfer followed an outcry from his family about the MP’s deteriorating health.
The MP was arrested in April for allegedly distributing food to his constituents contrary to a Presidential directive that all relief food should be handed to Covid-19 National Task Force.
This morning, Kadaga said she is concerned about the MP’s situation. “He was beaten and battered, he told me that pepper spray was sprayed directly into his eyes, he was in police custody for several days and they must account for his injuries. This is a violation of human rights and I think really it’s unacceptable,” said Kadaga.
She directed Gen. Jeje Odongo to present a statement to Parliament on Thursday in regard to Zaake’s situation and take action against the perpetuators of torture.
Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo said that it was unbelievable that a Member of Parliament can be seen in a state like that of Zaake. He said that under no circumstances should an MP or Ugandan be tortured during the lockdown or at any other time.
The Kalungu East MP Joseph Sewungu also questioned the torture of Zaake even when he surrendered to the authorities during arrest. He observed that a section of Ministers have been distributing food but none has been arrested.
Sewungu who described Zaaka as a young legislator told MPs that he was found packing food in his residence and tortured mercilessly by people meant to protect him.
Bugabula South MP Henry Kibalya weighed in demanding an explanation how the MP was tortured while in custody. He questioned whether there are people in the police force interested in killing MPs.
Tororo North MP Annet Nyakecho who was recently arrested at the residence of former Security Minister Henry Tumukunde also told Parliament that she was held behind bars for seven days without being produced in court and her relatives tortured.
Mukono South MP Johnson Muyanja Ssenyonga told Parliament that their initial attempts to access Zaake in police cells were blocked.
Kadaga noted that Zaake has been arrested on four occasions and at all times badly beaten. She also noted a practice of arresting people towards the weekend and present them to courts without jurisdiction.