By Spy Uganda
Mityana: The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Jane Frances Abodo has withdrawn charges against Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake months after he was charged with breaking presidential directives of social distancing to control the spread of COVID-19.
On April 19, 2020, Zaake was brutally arrested from his home in Buswabukongo, Mityana, after he was allegedly found distributing food relief to residents without observing social distancing, contrary to the presidential directives that banned the same for fear of spreading the deadly COVID-19.
After the arrest, Zaake was charged at Mityana Chief Magistrate’s court with two counts of a negligent act likely to spread the infection of disease and disobedience of lawful orders.
However, on August 5, 2020 the Director of Public Prosecution, Jane Frances Abodo withdrew the charges against legislator who subscribes to Robert Kyagulanyi’s National Unity Platform political party, according to the letter seen by TheSpy Uganda issued to Mityana Chief Magistrate Moses Kule without stating any reason for withdrawing the charges.
“This is to inform court that the Director of public prosecutions has decided to discontinue proceedings against Hon. Francis Zaake,” the letter reads. The letter was copied to Mityana Resident State Attorney and Regional Criminal Investigation Department Office.
Speaking to reporters outside court, Zaake’s lawyer Eron Kiiza welcomed the withdrawal of the case saying his focus is now going to be on the criminal charges of torture that Zaake brought against the officers who arrested him.
“The DPP saw that there was no sense in the charges because in the first place it never existed. The most painful thing is that it’s the reason he was arrested and tortured,” Kiiza said. For his part, Zaake said he was disappointed with the police for breaking the very laws they are supposed to enforce.
He said the fact that the DPP has withdrawn the charges against him, solidifies his private prosecution against the officers who allegedly tortured him. “They arrested me for no reason but we are going to expose them for the cowards that they are. They break the laws but they don’t want to be held accountable,” Zaake said.
The same Mityana Chief Magistrate’s court proceeded with the hearing of the criminal charges against six top Police officers whom Zaake accuse of torture. These include Kagarura Bob, the Wamala Regional Police Commander, Hamdan Twesigye, Musa Walugembe and Willy Womanya, all attached to the Police Special Investigations Unit at Kireka, Musa Walugembe and Isaac Oketcho.
All the accused were not present in court but their lawyer Erias Tumwebaze said he was representing them although he did not explain why some had not appeared.
The State Attorney, Lydia Batiibwe on the other hand told court that the DPP wants to take over the case against the officers. But according to Kiiza, this decision is suspect. “We don’t believe that this decision by the DPP to take over the case is in good faith. Every time they take over any case their aim is to kill it and we think it’s unfair,” Kiiza said.
Zaake was arrested on April 19 but was produced in court on April 29 half-naked with signs of torture all over his body. He was to spend several days in Lubaga hospital receiving treatment.
In his suit MP Zaake individually sued; Abel Kandiiho, the CMI boss, Alex Mwiine, the Mityana DPC, Elly Womanya, SIU commandant, Twesigye Hamdani, Musa Walugembe, the officer in charge of SIU and Haruna Mulungi Nsamba.
“The applicant (MP Zaake), was later held in incommunicado, tortured and detained without trial for 10 days at several places including Mityana Police Station, CMI headquarters in Mbuya and SIU headquarters in Kireka, until April 29,” court documents read.
“This caused the applicant (MP Zaake) physical and psychological pain and suffering, humiliation, loss of self-worth and threatened his life and dignity.”