16 August 2018

Uganda: Army to Try Bobi Wine Today, Says Govt

Government announced yesterday that Kyadondo East Member of Parliament (MP), Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine will today be charged before the army court in Gulu over possessing a gun.

The other detained MPs, including Gerald Karuhanga (Ntungamo Municipality), Paul Mwiru (Jinja East), Michael Mabikke (former Makindye West MP) and Kassiano Wadri (Arua Municipality MP-elect) are expected to be charged today with yet-to-be known offences.

Detectives from Arua led by West Nile Regional CID chief Herbert Mutonyo drove to Gulu yesterday and recorded the suspects' statements, Gulu CID officer Ronald Were said.

"The alleged offences committed by the suspects happened in Arua town, they are only being detained at our station. The officers from Arua are taking the lead in the investigations," Mr Were said.

There were conflicting accounts on where the group would be tried, with officials in Kampala saying the suspects would be produced in Gulu magistrate's court today. But a senior police officer in Gulu said they were to be taken back and charged in a court in Arua where they allegedly committed the alleged crimes.

The fate of Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake was unclear by press time, but photos circulated on social media showed him with a swollen hand and deep cuts to his fingers. Lawyers who accessed some of the suspects said Bobi Wine, was not in the police cells.

Their arrest, just as that of 28 other persons, followed the alleged stoning of one of the vehicles used in President Museveni's convoy.

Mr Kyagulanyi's driver, Yasin Kawuma, was shot dead on the same day at Pacific Hotel car park in Arua.

But First Deputy Premier Moses Ali, told Parliament yesterday: "Kyagulanyi will appear before General Court Martial in Gulu on Thursday [today]. Kyagulanyi was found with a gun."

"Allegations of torture are not true. This is the government statement; there is no torture at Central Police Station cell," he added.

Gen Ali also said Mr Kyagulanyi had earlier been checked into a military hospital in Gulu.

He added that all the persons arrested are in custody at the Gulu Central Police Station and are accessible to their relatives and lawyers.

Responding to the government's statement, Mr Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak South MP, FDC, said the government should tell Ugandans what type of gun was found on Mr Kyagulanyi.

"Secondly, he [Gen Ali] dismissed allegations that our colleagues were tortured. We have evidence, photos of our colleagues who are lying in the hospital almost lifeless. For example, we have [a picture of] Francis Zaake. The blood oozing from his hands; the eyes are swollen, the ears are shattered. I do not know if Zaake tortured himself." Mr Olanya said a police officer in Arua had told him on Tuesday that the government is going to "teach Mr Kyagulanyi and Mr Zaake a lesson that they will never forget."

The Kigulu South MP, Andrew Kizza Kulaya (Independent), questioned why, if the MPs now in custody were not tortured, why government took Mr Kyagulanyi to a military hospital.

"The [First] Prime Deputy Prime Minister has informed the House that Mr Kyagulanyi was taken to a military hospital in Gulu... I wonder what takes one to a military hospital, [one] who on Monday was very healthy. In the campaign, he - Kyagulanyi - was moving on his own. And the minister comes here to tell us they have not tortured any of our colleagues. What a lie, Prime Minister!" Mr Kulaya said.

MPs Lucy Akello (Amuru), Florence Namayanja (Bukoto East), Monicah Amoding (Kumi), Kabale Municipality MP, Andrew Aja Baryayanga - Independent, Betty Aol Ocan, the LoP, also spoke out against the way their colleagues were being treating.

Meanwhile, six MPs were assigned to follow up the cases.

Additional reporting by Julius Ocungi

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