Gen Benon Biraro, the 2016 presidential candidate of the Farmers’ Party of Uganda met FDC presidential flag bearer, Dr Kizza Besigye on Thursday at the latter’s home in Kasangati to discuss a peace and unity government.
Maj Gen Biraaro arrived at Dr Besigye’s home at 10:00am in a Land Cruiser Prado. Unlike many others who have tried to access the home in vain, Biraaro was allowed to see Besigye, whose movements have been restricted by Police. When asked how come he was allowed to see Dr Besigye, Biraaro explains that he identified himself to the police and told them he was there on appointment.
“I told them I have an appointment with him [Besigye]; they told me to wait as they consulted him. After some time I was told Dr Besigye accepted that we can have a meeting so I was ushered in,” Mr Biraaro said.
When asked however, Besigye refuted claims that he was consulted, saying that the police has stripped him of his rights to choose who to visit him or not.
“They did not consult me on Biraaro, may be they consulted the IGP Gen Kale Kayihura, It’s the police that determines who visits me now. Yesterday [Wednesday] I had visitors from Human Rights Watch but they were turned away and told to return today. However they have been here since 9am but they won’t be allowed to see me,” Dr Besigye said.
In a statement released on Wednesday, the IGP Kale Kayihura stated that Mr Besigye is not under house arrest. He justified police deployment at his home saying it is because the opposition leader is still planning defiance and incitement of violence.
“…Since Rtd Col Kizza Besigye has not retracted his statements of defiance and incitement to violence, Police shall continue to regulate and closely monitor his movements so that he does not pose danger to public peace and national security,” the statement reads in part.
Gen Biraaro says he and Dr Besigye talked about a peace and unity government. He also adds that it’s his interest that all stakeholders receive this message and he will meet all of them.
“I have been mentioning on television and everywhere about a unity government and peace in our country, I have had a meeting with Dr Besigye and he is positive, but as you know, in a meeting each person carries their ideas, mine are peace and unity,” Mr Biraaro said after the meeting.
“Dr Besigye was positive about national unity; I will call President Museveni for a meeting on the same,” Mr Biraaro added.
Dr Besigye on his part declined to reveal what else was discussed in the meeting saying: “Why should I tell you what was discussed between me and Biraaro?” but he reiterated that he has no problem with Gen Biraaro’s ideas.
“We are all interested in peace and stability but it is not possible to talk peace when there is injustice. It is important to work towards justice in the society before you talk about peace,” Dr Besigye said.
“About unity government, I am very okay with it. Even our manifesto mentions that we are to form a unity government, so there is nothing new about that,” he added.
On the claims by the IGP Kale Kayihura that the FDC presidential candidate is not under house arrest, Besigye was quick to refute.
“I do not think anybody still takes Kayihura seriously, I am held here incommunicado, people who have come to see me cannot be allowed in. It is Kayihura and his people that determine who must see me and who must not,” he said.
The IGP in his statement said the Police had “information that his planned procession is not just a procession, but rather beginning of a planned and generalised campaign of violence in the city and select municipalities across the country. Clearly, this is supported by the public utterances of Rtd Col Dr. Kiiza Besigye. As much as possible, we shall continue to constructively engage him and other FDC leaders urging them to cooperate with us to ensure that peace, law and order are maintained in our country, and advise them to seek legal redress rather than resorting to violence in addressing whatever grievances they may have.”