A tortured Ugandan lawmaker facing treason charges alongside Bobi Wine is suffering in a government hospital after being blocked from seeking specialised treatment in India.
The government of President Yoweri Museveni, whose security agents manhandled Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake during Arua Municipality by-election last month, has given him two options: accept to be examined by a government doctor or stay in detention at Kiruddu Hospital.
Police spokesperson Emilian Kayima on Sunday said Mr Zaake would only be released to travel to India after government doctors have examined him.
The lawmaker, who has been on and off life support at Lubaga Hospital, is currently detained at Kiruddu Hospital with injuries he sustained in police remand.
A few days after his arrest and detention, President Museveni claimed MP escaped from police custody after it emerged that he had been tortured.
The MP was on Thursday grabbed from Entebbe International Airport as his family prepared to fly him to India.
Mr Zaake, together with Mr Wine, were forced into waiting police ambulances and taken to Kiruddu Hospital, a government facility.
Mr Zaake was immediately put under arrest in connection with the alleged stoning of a presidential vehicle.
At least 33 suspects have been charged with treason following the Arua clash that saw the driver of Mr Wine shot dead.
Government medical experts, led by the Mulago National Referral Hospital Executive Director Byarugaba Baterana, spent the better part of Friday evening trying to examine Mr Zaake and Mr Wine.
Unlike Mr Wine, who accepted to be examined at Kiruddu and was immediately cleared to travel to Washington DC, Mr Zaake rejected the government doctors, saying he could not trust them.
Police insist that the bedridden legislator will not be allowed to leave the country unless he accepts doctors from Mulago National Referral Hospital.
The Hippocratic Oath, an oath historically taken by physicians, does not allow doctors to conduct any medical procedure on patients without their consent.
This is contained in the Medical & Dental Practitioners Act and the code of ethics for medical and dental practitioners.
Ms Bridget Namirembe, Mr Zaake’s wife, told the Sunday Monitor that her husband does not trust government doctors after he was tortured and locked up by people he said work for Mr Museveni.
The government said the two MPs were to undergo medical exams by its doctors to ascertain their health condition before being allowed to fly out of the country.
“We were able to do examination on [MP] Bobi Wine but the people of [MP] Zaake did not allow us to access him. So, we did not do examination on him (Zaake) despite waiting for three hours,” said Dr Byarugaba.
Dr Byarugaba said the team of nine doctors who examined Mr Wine will remain on standby to attend to Mr Zaake anytime he consents.
Mr Wine travelled with his wife and other close relatives.
Dr Byarugaba described the pop star-cum-political activist Bobi Wine as “cooperative”, adding that his two personal doctors, his wife Barbie, siblings and a lawyer were there as observers.
“The medical code of conduct does not permit me to discuss the results of the examination. But what I can assure you is that we gave him a meticulous touch of the supreme court of medicine (sic),” Dr Byarugaba said.
Other doctors who took part in the exam are Marlon Nyati, Rukundo Rugare, Micheal Muhumuza, Emmanuel Seremba, Pasko Kwitonda, Ivan Kisuule, Juliet Sekabejja and Rugati Gideon.
Mr Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, Nicholas Opiyo, later released a short video he recorded when the legislator (on a wheelchair), his wife Baribie and his brother Mickie were going through the Entebbe Airport VIP lounge shortly before boarding a KLM Royal Dutch Airline flight to Amsterdam.
Mr Opiyo said he was not satisfied with the examination the government doctors did on the MP.
He said the procedure should have been done at the airport on Thursday instead of delaying the lawmaker for another 24 hours.
He said the doctors who spent about 24 minutes in the room only checked on Mr Wine and asked him a few questions as they took notes.
“When the doctors came in, they were fast to dismiss the medical results made by doctors from other hospitals,” he said.
“They did not take any samples or do any scans, I think all they came to do is make the President (Museveni) satisfied with his claims that the two MPs are in good condition.”
He said it is hard to believe why a team of nine doctors would enter the room where the patient was without any specific medical equipment apart from a blood pressure testing kit.
As for Mr Zaake, the doctors did not even enter his room on the 7th floor where his lawyer Asuman Basalirwa and family members were waiting.
Mr Basalirwa, who left the hospital at around 11pm without seeing any doctors attending to Zaake, said there was no caution and charge statement recorded by the legislator.
“It is not true that Zaake recorded a statement as it is being claimed. Detectives had not come to his room by 11pm when I left the hospital. Zaake was not examined and still remains under arrest,” he said.