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Bobi Wine: Why isn’t Arua hotel owner facing treason charges as well?

ARUA | The proprietor of Pacific Hotel in Arua where Kyaddondo East legislator Robert Kyagulanyi was arrested has denied claims that security agents found guns from his facility, saying none of his clients accessed the hotel with weapons.

PML Daily, a news portal, on Thursday reported that Candia Luiji instead accused the security agencies of stealing his guests’ valuables and money amounting to Shs80 million.

“These people did not get any gun here. They should be ashamed to tell lies to the public that they got guns. If they got the guns from somewhere, they should tell the public instead of blaming our hotel,” Luiji is quoted by the news website as saying.

Bobi Wine was arrested from his hiding place in the hotel ceiling on Tuesday morning, nearly 12 hours after his political colleagues such as Kassiano Wadri for whom he was in Arua to canvass votes, had been taken into custody.

However, unlike the other politicians, Bobi Wine was airlifted to State House Entebbe and interrogated before being flown to Bombo Military Barracks. He was later driven and incarcerated at Makindye Military Barracks.

During this time, the security sought evidence to pin the legislator of the treason charge they had preferred against him for allegedly breaching presidential motorcade security on Monday evening.

On Wednesday, Police called for an impromptu news briefing at which they paraded guns and ammunition, as well as communication gadgets that they claimed Bobi Wine was in possession of.

In Parliament, legislators put the government to task to explain the whereabouts of their colleagues after pictures emerged of a wounded Mityana Municipality MP Francis Zaake, one of the handful of politicians arrested with Bobi Wine.

First Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali later addressed the House, saying Bobi Wine had been found in possession of guns and would be charged with treason in Gulu District on Thursday.

However, the claims by security agencies that Bobi Wine and his group were heavily armed in apparent preparation to attack the president has been met with mockery across the public. with many calling it planted evidence.

These claims are given credence by the hotel owner Luiji’s denial of the events and, according to Crime24 senior court correspondent Jens Mukiibi, the bigger question should be on why Luiji is not being treated as a suspect in a matter this serious.

If the state says all those things [the evidence] were found in Bobi Wine’s room, then it makes sense that the hotel manager who accommodated them for days would be among the main suspects since hotels have security and employ strict codes in clients with guns, Mukiibi said.

“It’s not just one pistol but serious SMG rifles here. There are GPS readers and an assortment of mobile phones. For these weapons to get into a hotel, the proprietor would have to okay that. I think they forgot to piece their claims together,” Mukiibi said.

The charge of concealment of treason would ideally be preferred against the hotel manager.

According to PML Daily, Luiji revealed that following the campaign violence on Monday from which Bobi Wine’s driver was shot dead, the security men broke 22 doors of rooms during their search while beating some of the staff at the hotel. He added two of the staff were arrested.

Bobi Wine, a musician turned politician barely a year ago who commands a large following particularly among the youth, on Monday evening ran into the president’s motorcade that was headed to Ediofe after a rally in Arua town, leading to a confrontation between the popular legislator’s supporters and the presidential security.

Witnesses say the irate ‘Red Army’ of Bobi Wine’s supporters blocked the motorcade while President Museveni said Wednesday that his convoy came under attack and a vehicle that carries luggage was damaged in the incident.

The state is treating the political confrontation as an attack on the president, which ideally amounts to treason.

Also to be charged with Bobi Wine are MPs Gerald Karuhanga, Paul Mwiru, Zaake and Wadri — on Wednesday won the vote to replace NRM’s Ibrahim Abiriga, who was gunned down in Kampala in June.

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