Presidential candidate Besigye detained prior to Ugandan elections

February 16, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Gloria Nakiyimba

The opposition Forum for Democratic Change, FDC party’s presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye has been delivered to his home at Kasangati, an outskirt of Kampala, after he was briefly detained two days prior to the February 18th Ugandan Presidential elections.

Besigye was intercepted by Police in the nations’ capital Kampala on Monday after he abandoned his convoy and tried to move in a procession as he made his way to the city centre in his last efforts to address a rally in downtown Nasser Street.

The police, commanded by Aaron Baguma, blocked Besigye at Jinja road and fired tear gas to disperse the huge crowd that was following him.

Besigye abandoned his convoy and marched with his supporters in a procession which prompted police to act, claiming that what he was doing was against the law. He was then whisked away to the Central Police Station in Kampala, where he was briefly detained before being transferred to Kiira road police station.

Kampala looked like a battlefield with heavy police and military deployment, tear gas vehicles lining streets and blocking all routes to the Central Police Station as Besigye’s supporters wanted to descend on the station to follow their candidate.

He was in the company of Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, Kampala central incumbent woman Member of parliament Nabilah Naggayi Sempala, politicians Ingrid Turinawe and Shifra Lukwago.

People were seen running for their lives as police fired pink tear gas along Kampala road and Jinja road in the city centre.

Speaking to the media shortly after arriving at his home in Kasangati, Dr. Besigye vowed to continue with his schedule to address rallies in Kampala with the next one at Makerere University, his Nasser road rally having been earlier disrupted.

“I have no idea, ask the people who caused it” Besigye said about the events that unveiled on Monday.

He blasted the NRM regime accusing it of using intimidation in an attempt to stop his supporters from voting for him come the 18th of February.

“What’s happening is what we really expect; the regime would panic over their absolute lack of support. They would panic and threaten people. What they are doing is simply intimidation” he said.

He asked Ugandans to remain firm and not to be intimidated by the dictatorial regime of President Yoweri Museveni.

“This time let’s remain resolute, law abiding and assert our rights against law breakers” he averred.

Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago described the arrest, detention and later release of Besigye as impunity.

“It’s impunity in this country, its a reign of terror, its dictatorship, no question” the visibly irate Lukwago stated.

Commenting on Monday’s events, former Uganda’s Prime Minister, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi the Go Forward presidential candidate says it was improper for police to arrest a candidate who was just looking for support as the campaigns draw to a close.

“The police have ashamedly been playing a partisan role. Some of them are behaving like state machinery trying to turn Uganda into a police state. It’s meant to intimidate the people” he said.

 

 

 

Tensions remain high

Tensions remain high in Wandegeya, Kampala with police still heavily deployed in the area. Police defend the earlier deployment of tear gas to disperse FDC supporters claiming Besigye changed his mind and wanted to go to Kafumbe Mukasa road in the city centre.

Besigye’s supporters earlier clashed with police, some seen picking the tear gas canisters and throwing them back to Police at Wandegaya roundabout while others hulled rocks to the police. The blue armored vehicles have been seen stationed at Wandegeya roundabout while shielded police officers are lining up the Makerere Hill road that Besigye had earlier wanted to use to access the University through the main gate.

After 6pm Besigye’s car was towed away to the Wandegeya police station with Uganda’s opposition presidential challenger inside. It was not known what would happen to him thereafter.

It has also been reported that Police fired tear gas to disperse Makerere university students who were descending on Wandegeya following the news that Dr. Kiiza Besigye had been blocked from addressing them at the botched rally.

 

A day earlier, on Sunday, National Resistance Movement Party flag bearer for the 2016 national elections and also the incumbent Yoweri Museveni reassured the country that there will be no violence during elections because the law guarantees a peaceful election.

He warned that if anyone does what should not be done, they will be arrested noting that soldiers were not yet deployed but they would soon be.

 

 

 

Gloria Nakiyimba

Gloria has experience spanning more than five years in Journalism, particularly in field reporting, editing, newscasting and management. She is currently working with Capital Radio Limited [91.3 Capital FM and 96.3 Beat FM] as Head of News, a position she has held since 2010.

Gloria previously worked as the Kampala Correspondent for Radio France International [RFI] generating local story leads with international inference for RFI’s global audience. She also served as Political Editor for The Weekly Mail Newspaper as well as Online Content Editor for the California based Ugandan broadcaster KubutakaRadio.com.

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