Uganda opposition presidential candidate detained

Besigye in detention at Nagalama Police Station. Courtesy Photo

Besigye in detention at Nagalama Police Station. Courtesy Photo

Col. (rtd) Kizza Besigye, flag bearer for Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has been arrested and detained by the Uganda Police in bid to stop him from campaigning in Eastern Part of the country.

Shortly before his arrest, Kizza Besigye, the three-time presidential candidate told local press the police had been camped at his home in Kasangati, near the capital Kampala for their “usual” purpose of arresting him.

“They have been here since last night, I guess their intention is the usual one, to violate my constitutional rights and, in this particular regard, to disrupt activities aimed at challenging Mr Museveni for power,” a relaxed Besigye said.

Besigye, who has been arrested and detained several times by the police told the media that the “Police as we have always known, is used as a personal police, an NRM police, a Museveni police to willfully violate rights of opponents and I think that is what is going on.”

In July, Dr. Kizza Besigye, the arch-rival of the NRM candidate and current President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, was arrested and detained at the same Nagalama Police Station to stop him from “illegally” campaigning in Kawempe, a Kampala suburb.

Just today as he was being arrested, police officers were heard and seen on video telling the embattled presidential candidate that they had orders to stop him proceeding with his unlawful and disruptive rallies, and that he had an option of staying at his home or venture out and risk arrest. Besigye and his driver refused to obey police orders and were immediately arrested and taken to Nagalama Police Station and sources say he is still in detention there.

This detention comes on the heels of last weekend’s dramatic and chaotic events that involved the police arresting, beating, manhandling, and undressing women executives of Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), and the party’s supporters as Besigye and other party officials were headed to a rally in Rukungiri, Western, Uganda.

Graphic images of the police “brutalizing” women have drawn condemnation on social media and in the local press. And other opposition leaders like Amama Mbabazi have appealed to the government to “rein in”  the state police.

One concerned Ugandan expresses her outrage

One concerned Ugandan expresses her outrage

Mbabazi himself was arrested and detained in July as he tried to campaign in the eastern part of the country.

Ugandans are due to head to the polls early next year to elect the country’s next leader, and the Police and President Museveni, who has been in power for 29 years and is running for a fifth term has vowed to ensure the poll is free of violence but observers say the police has unleashed violence against opponents of the incumbent.