Uganda: Mbabazi condemns “police brutality” against Besigye

FDC's Kizza Besigye being dragged by the Police

FDC’s Kizza Besigye being dragged by the Police

Former Prime Minister of Uganda, and 2016 presidential candidate Amama Mbabazi has condemned Saturday’s “violent” actions by the Uganda Police against Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) flag bearer Col.(rtd) Kizza Besigye and his supporters.

On his way to a campaign rally in his home district of Rukungiri, Western Uganda, Besigye and his supporters were stopped by the police, manhandled and whipped and  there cars were impounded in an effort to block them from proceeding to the campaign event.

In a statement issued Monday, Amama Mbabazi, the nominee for The Democratic Alliance (TDA), scolded the police for their brutality against FDC members.

“I condemn the wilful police brutality meted out against the FDC Presidential aspirant Dr. Kizza Besigye and his colleagues of FDC this past Saturday on their way to a public meeting in Rukungiri,” Mbabazi said adding “there is no excuse whatsoever for this police violence. We call on Government to rein in the state police who have been brutalising the innocent public.”

A woman being stripped by the police

A woman being stripped and arrested by the police

Mbabazi also rebuked the “shameful” way the police treated women over the weekend saying it is “indefensible” and that it should never happen again.

There have been public outcry and condemnation of the police after pictures and video footages of the police beating, dragging and stripping women on Saturday surfaced in the press and on social media.

Such images have drawn widespread condemnation on social media

Such images have drawn widespread condemnation on social media

Other members of the opposition have also come out to criticize over the top and unlawful behaviour by the Uganda Police.

Wafula Oguttum Opposition Whip in Ugandan Parliament, and a member of FDC said police violence will not deter the party from fighting until “change of government is achieved.”

Mr. Mbabazi has also been at the receiving end of the police violence he is admonishing.

Ever since he declared he was running for president, Mbabazi has been arrested, detained, and teargased alongside his supporters and his “consultative meetings” with voters have been disrupted by the police on many occasions.

Uganda is due to hold a presidential election in 2016 and the public and opposition presidential candidates notably Amama Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye are bracing for more violent confrontations with police.

The duo is challenging the ruling National Resistance Movement’s Yoweri Museveni who is standing for his fifth term. Museveni has been in power since 1986.

Efforts for the opposition to unite and join forces and field one candidate against NRM’s Museveni have not been successful as Besigye and Mbabazi both wanted to be TDA’s flag bearer. After inside fighting and politicking, majority parties within TDA endorsed Mbabazi as their nominee and FDC and Besigye opted to pursue their individual candidacy for president against both TDA’s Mbabazi and NRM’s Museveni.

Analysts say The Democratic Alliance’s failure to coalesce around either Besigye or Mbabazi without losing one is set to benefit the ruling party and Museveni as he faces off against a divided and fractured opposition.