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Besigye admitted at Nairobi Hospital

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Nurses check the oxygen concentration in Besigye’s blood at Entebbe Aiport yesterday before he was cleared to fly to Nairobi.

Nurses check the oxygen concentration in Besigye’s blood at Entebbe Aiport yesterday before he was cleared to fly to Nairobi. PHOTO BY ISAAC KASAMANI 

By Richard Wanambwa & Martin Ssebuyira

Posted  Saturday, April 30  2011 at  00:00
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Opposition Forum for Democratic Change leader Kizza Besigye was last night admitted at Nairobi Hospital after Uganda government, reportedly pushed by foreign diplomats, dramatically reversed a declared decision to block him from flying out for further medical management.

Earlier, Airport security chief Herman Owomugisha, citing a telephone call “from above”, turned away an AAR ambulance that delivered Dr Besigye at the departure lounge Entebbe International Airport at around 5:40pm.

Security forced the ambulance to relocate to the lower public parking lot from where Dr Besigye’s sister Olive Kobusingye, a surgeon, joined staff of AAR private health service providers to treat the FDC leader.

It was not until 7:25pm that Mr Owomugisha returned to inform Ms Kobusingye that the retired Colonel, blinded and made deaf by pepper sprayed by security forces during his violent arrest on Thursday, had finally been cleared to fly out.

Saturday Monitor was told a top Western diplomat was at the airport when disfigured Besigye was being blocked and he witnessed the excesses of plain-clothed and uniformed security operatives firsthand.

It was not clear if he was involved in securing the retired UPDF Colonel’s last minute clearance, but a highly placed government source said President Museveni personally called to get Dr Besigye board the plane a briefing by his aides.

FDC Women’s League leader Ingrid Turinawe said they had made distress calls to British and American diplomats in Kampala after security tried to block Dr Besigye’s who was in “great pain”. It was not immediately clear if they intervened to have Besigye flown out, a day after top US diplomat for Africa, Johnnie Carson, placed a telephone call to Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa to express Washington’s displeasure at the brutal handling of opposition demonstrators by state security organs.

The Obama administration has reminded Kampala three times since the walk-to-work demonstrations that peaceful demonstrations is a fundamental human right and critical component of functioning democracy.

President Museveni has said the worsening inflation now in double digits within a month was triggered by spiraling fuel prices and fuel shortage due to crop failure on the back of drought – and his government will do nothing to slash fuel taxes.
Last night, the former Museveni personal physician flew out for further medical management aboard KQ 414 and was accompanied by his cousin, Carol Kamayanzi, and some AAR staff.

The team was scrambled on board the Kenyan Airways aircraft without requisite security check for the 8pm flight. Earlier, Gilbert Bwana Arinaitwe, the man alleged to have led manhandling of Dr Besigye on Thursday, was sighted at the airport.

Anti-riot police aboard three pickup trucks parked strategically at the aerodrome facility, keeping watch over arriving and departing passengers.