Tuesday April 12 2011

I am ready to die, says Besigye

Dr Besigye being  lifted to  a Police truck-up after his arrest on Monday.

Dr Besigye being  lifted to  a Police truck-up after his arrest on Monday. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI 

By Tabu Butagira

Opposition politician Kizza Besigye last night said he is ready to die if that will bring sanity in the governance of Uganda, including affording all citizens full enjoyment of civil liberties. “One thing that does not take my consideration is death,” he said in response to his manhandling by police yesterday.

“If they want to kill me, let them kill.”
In an interview with this newspaper at his home in Kasangati, Wakiso District, Dr Besigye said the police under Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura has “lost direction” because they are “bidding for a rogue regime”.

The Forum for Democratic Change leader was speaking in an exclusive interview (to be published in full tomorrow) hours after police forcibly removed him from Gayaza Road after stifling his Walk-to-Work march from his Kasangati home.

He said a mid-night caller on Sunday alerted him that security forces had been ranged to besiege his home and halt his trek. On beginning the walk at 6:30 am, Dr Besigye said he met a column of mobile patrol police on the road from Kasangati trading centre leading to his home and had no idea whether they arrived late to lay the siege or were doing routine rounds.

A batch of anti-riot police commanded by senior officers, he said, shortly afterwards approached and ordered him to stop walking to his Najjanankumbi office on grounds he would attract crowds and stir confusion among the public.

According to Dr Besigye, the constables were later ordered to form a human shield by locking arms to restrain his advance. In protest, he said he decided to sit on the carriageway until the forces lifted him off the ground and whisked him away aboard a patrol car to the nearby Kasangati police station.

That was after they gave him three options; return home, call up his driver to drop him off at work or be chauffeured by police – options he rejected.

He said: “They wanted to put me in a double-cabin truck marked ‘Anti-Corruption’ but I refused because the story is that it is in those vehicles that when they squeeze people that they inject them with things.”
The opposition politician, who lost a third presidential election to Mr Museveni on February 18, ruled out returning to exile irrespective of harassment by the government.

Asked how he would solve the problem of rising cost of living if he were President, Dr Besigye said the solution lies in forward planning and investing in food storage facilities as well as national oil reserves so that intermediate scarcities do not immediately trigger price hikes.

Dr Besigye criticised Maj. Gen. Kayihura, saying his verbal threats and excessive use of force against unarmed civilians displeased with government policies are “incompatible with the police uniform”.

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