Zaake torture case: Court dismisses state evidence

Wednesday August 26 2020
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MP Francis Zaake (centre) and his supporters at the High Court on August 26, 2020. PHOTO | JULIET KIGONGO.

Court on Wednesday dismissed supporting evidence filed by the state in the matter in which the Mityana Municipality MP, Francis Zaake, sued top security officers over torture.

Justice Esta Nambayo’s decision was prompted by Zaake’s lawyer, Mr Eron Kiiza, who asked the court to call Mr Moses Mugisha, the State Attorney, to have him cross examined on his affidavit that was filed by the attorney general in support of the case.

Mr Kiiza told court that the evidence brought by Mr Mugisha is full of unsubstantiated statements with hearsay evidence which the court could not rely on.
“Your honour, we were served with the affidavit of Mr Mugisha very late yesterday. I would like to cross examine him on his evidence on record which is just a hearsay,” he said.

Prosecution led by Mr Johnson Natuhera, opposed the submission asking court not to dismiss the evidence saying that Mr Mugisha is also a state attorney thus the evidence on record should be taken as it is.

However, when Mr Natuhera was asked by the trial judge on whether he could present Mr Mugisha for cross examination, he responded that he was not willing to do so which led to the dismissal of evidence. Mr Natuhera then asked court to grant him more time to file new affidavits, which the court accepted.

The trial judge ordered Mr Natuhera to file the additional affidavits on September 2 and then Zaake’s lawyer will file the rejoinder on September 16, and hearing of the case will be on September 29.

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On May 6, Mr Zaake through his lawyers of Kiiza & Mugisha Advocates, petitioned the court seeking unspecified compensation from individual police and military officers and the government.

In his suit MP Zaake individually sued; Abel Kandiiho, the CMI boss, Alex Mwiine, the Mityana DPC, Mr Elly Womanya, SIU commandant, Mr Twesigye Hamdani, Mr Musa Walugembe, the officer in charge of SIU and Mr Haruna Mulungi Nsamba.

The legislator contends that on April 19, 2020 as he was taking shower at his upcountry home in Mityana District, a combined security detail of police and military, jumped over his wall fence and brutally arrested him.
He says that the security detail was led by Mityana DPC Mwiine and Wamala Regional Police Commander, Mr Bob Kagarura.

Mr Zaake says that despite demanding a search warrant, the determined officers ransacked his house leading to the destruction and loss of his property before bundling him on a waiting pickup truck.

"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."

Mr Zaake was arrested on allegations that he was distributing food to his electorate against a presidential directive banning gatherings to minimise the spread of the deadly coronavirus pandemic.

He now wants the court to order the respondents to; jointly and severally compensate him with special, general, aggravated and punitive damages and cater for court costs.

jkigongo@ug.nationmedia.com

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