Besigye safer in our hands, says Uganda Police chief

Dr. Besigye being arrested by the police

Dr. Besigye being arrested by the police

The Uganda Police is still holding main opposition leader and the runner-up in last week’s Presidential Elections Dr Col Kizza Besigye, claiming that he is not arrested but rather kept in safe custody for his own security.

Besigye who has since disputed the results of the polls as full of irregularities and voter bribery and intimidation, was arrested on Monday morning from his home in Kasangati, a Kampala suburb where he had been under house arrest since Saturday and taken to Nagalama Police in Mukono district, about 20 kilometers from the capital.

“We took Besigye for safe custody after we had received intelligence reports that he had mobilized people to storm the Electoral Commission headquarters with an intention of disrupting business in Kampala,” said Gen Kale Kayihura, the Inspector General of the Uganda Police Force.

Dr Besigye was planning to march with his supporters to the Electoral body to receive his declaration forms after his party failed to pick them on the day the results were declared. But police deployed heavily at the commission headquarters and has also blockaded the headquarters of his party, the Forum for Democratic Change.

However General Kayihura would not say when Dr Besigye would be released, but stated that the police had evidence that his supporters were planning to engage in violence, intimating that they would not allow that and that they would continue to monitor his movements.

The international community particularly the US has condemned Besigye’s arrest and urged for his immediate release.

Heavily armed soldiers have kept their presence in the capital Kampala and several other towns. Election observers from the European Union, African Union, IGAD and Civil society Organizations cited “an atmosphere of intimidation and voter bribery,” and many polling stations in Kampala received ballots late or not at all on Thursday.

Earlier on Monday, the Police also raided the headquarters of the Forum for Democratic Change and arrested eight members of the party’s electoral commission and confiscated several computers in a move that has been heavily criticized by civil society organizations. European Union officials have also been locked in meetings with senior party officials including Major General Mugisha Muntu, the party chairman on the way forward.

Dr, Besigye, the four-time presidential candidate is President Yoweri Museveni’s personal physician, the duo fell out over a decade ago and ever since, the retired military officer has openly criticized his former commander in chief and attempted to beat him on the ballot box four times in vain.

Commenting on Besigye’s ordeal, Museveni said his arrest was due to the fact that the government had reports that he was trying to announce his “false” results, and that he was planning to incite violence.