Kizza Besigye, Uganda’s leading opposition figure, has been arrested this morning when he attempted to leave his home to attend a parallel Uganda at 54 independence day celebration.
The police chief had warned Besigye and the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) that any parallel celebrations to the government organized event will not be accepted because Uganda had only one government.
The FDC had threatened repeatedly to hold their own celebrations in the capital, Kampala, even though the government had planned the official celebration in the Luuka district.
‘‘Kizza Besigye arrested, whisked away in infamous black police van as he attempted to leave his home for parallel Uganda At 54 events”, the national broadcaster, NBS Television reported.
‘‘Dr. Besigye and councillor, Allan Sewanyana arrested while leaving their respective homes,’’ NTV Uganda also reported.
Besigye, returned to the country from a European tour on Monday but says he was ‘kidnapped’ on arrival by security personnel on the stairs of the flight that he arrived with.
‘‘They held my trousers and they lifted me off the plane. I still don’t have my luggage. I have my passport and it’s not stamped. I haven’t returned officially. I was kidnapped,’’ Besigye said.
Leaders of the FDC had thronged the Entebbe airport to receive Besigye but they were prevented from accessing the VIP section of the airport.
Members of his party were also gathered at the airport to receive him. He was however whisked away by security detail and sent straight to his Kasangati residence. The action of the police was later explained as ‘Preventive Arrest,’ – a measure to avert the disruption of public peace that his followers were likely to cause.
He addressed a cross section of his party faithful and the press at his residence, stating that he was back to continue the defiance campaign. He also insisted that he was winner of the February 2016 polls.
Africa news/Zainab Sa’id