Uganda police arrests Mbabazi, Besigye

Amama Mbabazi, former Premier and 2016 presidential candidates

Amama Mbabazi, former Premier and 2016 presidential candidates

The Uganda Police arrested and detained two presidential aspirants Amama Mbabazi and Dr. Kiiza Besigye at Kiira Road (Kampala) and Nagalama Police Stations respectively.

The former prime minister Mbabazi was picked up at Njeru town in Jinja, en route to the Eastern town of Mbale to “consult” with voters and Besigye was arrested as he left his home to address two rallies around the capital Kampala

The arrests come a day after the police refuted reports in the local media that the President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni met with Mbabazi and endorsed Thursday trip to Mbale and his meetings with voters.

The Police Spokesman issued a strong statement Wednesday saying Mbabazi potential meetings with voters were unlawful as he hasn’t been cleared by his party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) to conduct campaigns.

Mbabazi, a longtime Museveni ally and NRM stalwart, was arrested and detained up to four hours before being released on bond. The one time NRM Secretary General’s daughter, Rachel Mbabazi was arrested with his father, and held at Lugazi police station along Kampala-Jinja highway.

Besigye, the two time presidential candidate with Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), a leading opposition party in Uganda first resisted arrest telling the police “you know that my home is not a prison, why are you arresting me when I have work to do, I actually have an appointment with the American Embassy, that’s where I am going.”

He was detained at Nagalama police station but it’s unclear whether he was also released on bond like his FDC colleague.

After he was arrested, he supporters fought back and protested by hurling stones and sticks at the police. Police later restored peace at Besigye’s compound.

Opposition leaders in Uganda have condemned today’s arrests of Mbabazi and Besigye saying “they haven’t committed any crime apart from running for president.”

Police authorities in Kampala told local media Mbabazi’s arrest was “preventive” to avoid what would have been a serious confrontation with the police in Mbale town, where police were tightly patrolling every street and shop.