Former army commander Gen Gregory Mugisha Muntu this morning joined in the chorus of condemnation of last night’s security forces’ operation in which two MPs Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine) and Francis Zaake were blocked at Entebbe Airport from leaving the country to seek treatment abroad.
Both MPs were brutally beaten up during the election violence in Arua on August 13th.
Hon Bobi Wine, who was cleared by High Court to get private medical treatment, was scheduled to travel to the US while Hon Zaake was heading to India.
These were bundled into a police van at 9pm last night and driven from the airport to Kiruddu Hospital in Makindye Division.
The development sparked anger and mild riots in different parts of Kampala.
Commenting on the incident, Gen Muntu condemned the decision to block the MPs from getting treatment abroad, saying that this was not government’s business.
Incidents like these he said, were the reason that he and other people picked up guns to fight the war that brought the current government into power 32 years ago.
“Let’s be clear, it’s really not government business to decide which doctor (Bobi Wine) or Hon. Zaake choose to see. It is also not its business to speculate on whether they are “sick enough” to leave the country,” Muntu tweeted.
“This kind of injustice is exactly why we went to war”
Asked by a follower why he hadn’t picked the guns again and returned to the bush, the former FDC President stated, “We have chosen not to go to war because the past 32 years have shown that war might get you into power, but it does not empower democracy. We seek peaceful transition because it does. Our historical cycle of violence will not be resolved with violence.”
Muntu went on to warn the men and women in uniform in the country that time would come for them to reap what they are sowing.
“There will come a time when you are not in power and those you are torturing are. Even if it were solely for selfish reasons, civility and being humane will serve you a lot better than this blatantly illogical arrogance.”
During the protests that broke out earlier this morning in Kamwokya, security forces, which over the past days have been under fire for brutalizing a Reuters journalist in city riots last week, battered yet another video journalist.
Joshua Mujunga a video journalist for NBS television was hospitalized after being beaten by security officials in Bobi Wine’s home town.
— Catherine Byaruhanga (@cathkemi) August 31, 2018
Meanwhile reports indicated Friday morning that Bobi Wine and Zaake had rejected treatment at Kiruddu Hospital.
The MPs reportedly locked themselves in their rooms and denied access to medical personnel.
Lawyers of the MPs yesterday raised concerns on government’s motive to block them from getting medication from outside the country.
Counsel Nicholas Opiyo suggested that government was trying to conceal the actual extent of the torture meted on the MPs.
What the State is afraid of is not criminality on the part of Hon Zaake & Hon Bobi Wine but their own (State) criminality. They are afraid of credible & independent medical results from the two tortured MPs. Minister of Health Ruth Aceng at the heart of Hon Zaake’s case. pic.twitter.com/E4ARyzbEWG
— Nicholas Opiyo (@nickopiyo) August 30, 2018
Counsel Medard Lubega Seggona on the other hand said last night’s incident was not dissimilar to the death of MP Cerinah Nebanda, when security forces arrested and beat up Dr Sylvester Onzivua who was traveling abroad with samples of remains of the deceased MP to be tested for poison abroad.
Police in a brief explanation of last night’s incident said they blocked Hon Bobi Wine from travelling because he is on bail.
“The Police is concerned and await (sic) for guidance from the relevant government department,” said police spokesman Emilian Kayima.
Hon Zaake on the other hand, even though he hasn’t been charged with any offence yet, has been accused by police of escaping from custody shortly after he was arrested in Arua.
After being intercepted at Entebbe International Airport yesterday, Police issued a statement saying he was “trying to flee the country.”