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Police bow to pressure, release bedridden MP Nambooze on bond

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KAMPALA–The government has bowed to increasing pressure and released Mukono Municipality legislator Betty Nambooze two weeks after her her arrest.

Nambooze, who has been bedridden since her arrest over remarks she made before and after the assassination of Arua municipality MP Ibrahim Abiriga, was released on police bond Wednesday.

The release was confirmed by Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwango on his Facebook page Wednesday.

“Finally MP Bakireke Nambooze granted a temporary reprieve. They [Police] simply dropped the unconditional state bond by her bedside and vanished as we were still pursuing a release order at Buganda Road Court!” Lukwago said.

At the time of posting, Lukwago, a member of Nambooze’s Democratic Party, said the ailing MP’s evacuation from Kiruddu Hospital where she has been admitted under custody was being coordinated.

Nambooze was on June 13 picked from her home in Mukono by police officers in connection with a social media post she published about the death of fellow MP Ibrahim Abiriga.

Nambooze was reportedly arrested on the orders of the director of Criminal Investigations Directorate (CID) Grace Akullo. She was released shortly after arrest but picked up again the following day.

The vocal opposition legislator is implicated by a video recorded by NTV during the age limit debate in which she explained how it was “easy to attack Abiriga even with his bodyguards all around him.”

Incidentally, Abiriga was gunned down earlier this month while returning home for Iftar (breaking fast) during the Ramathan fasting period. The legislator and his brother cum bodyguard were shot dead in his car on the outskirts of Kampala.

Since the arrest, Nambooze, who has previously had an operation to repair her spine following a brutal encounter with state machinery, has been bedridden with several opposition leaders demanding her release to go and seek proper medical attention in India.

The government has been adamant despite several calls and two days ago blocked a section of Opposition MPs from transferring Nambooze from Kiruddu hospital upon being cleared by Mulago Hospital management to travel to India for better treatment.

Moses Kasibante (Rubaga North), Allan Ssewanyana (Makindye West) and Ibrahim Ssemuju Nganda (Kira Municipality) on Tuesday stormed the heavily-guarded Kiruddu Hospital but failed to secure Nambooze’s reprieve.

On Monday, Mulago Hospital executive director, Dr Byaruhanga Baterena, said they had cleared the bedridden MP to travel to India for further medical review.

Dr Baterena said Nambooze’s condition has worsened, adding that she must go back to India where she underwent a spine surgery.

“We have been working as a team of six doctors and we have given our line minister a report, who will also brief the relevant authorities. The travel papers are already with Parliament and she should actually crosscheck with them,” Dr Baterena said.

Nambooze’s medical report indicates that she had suffered spinal cord compression and had undergone posterior lumbar decompression and fusion, a surgical procedure that joins two or more bones together into one solid bone.

Nambooze’s spine was broken last year at Parliament during the Constitutional Amendment Bill, 2017 debate to lift the presidential age cap. She was later referred to Mannipal Hospital in India, where she underwent a successful surgery.

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