Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s wife, Jacqueline, has told the Daily Monitor that she protested to President Museveni after the April 2011 forceful arrest of Dr Kizza Besigye, which left the opposition leader partially blind.
In an exclusive interview with this newspaper on Friday, Ms Mbabazi said after Dr Besigye was violently arrested on April 28, 2011 at Mulago in Kampala at the height of the Walk-To-Work demonstrations, she protested to President Museveni.
“I remember one incident that really disturbed me and that is when Dr Kizza Besigye’s car window was broken and pepper spray thrown into his eyes in broad day light. It was very unfortunate. I remember telling the President and I quote: “We do not want a police state here.”
Ms Mbabazi made the comments as she accused the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, of abusing the institution and using it for partisan interests.
Her allegations, which were dismissed by Gen Kayihura in an email to the Daily Monitor, follow the arrest and last week’s charging of youth leaders in the NRM, who are reportedly supportive of premier Amama Mbabazi’s perceived presidential ambitions.
The Anti-Corruption Court last week sent Mr Omodo-Omodo, the NRM Youth League vice-chaiperson for the north and Mr Adam Luzindana, the party’s youth chairperson for Kampala, on remand in Luzira after they were charged with abuse of office.
The duo were leading a process of collecting signatures to challenge the NRM parliamentary caucus resolution that President Museveni be the sole candidate for the party come 2016. They were reportedly working on behalf of the Prime Minister, who has, however, clarified that he will not contest against President Museveni.
According to Ms Mbabazi, who also heads the NRM Women’s League, she told the President the Walk-To-Work protests were political and needed a political resolution.
Asked if she was aware of this conversation between the President and Ms Mbabazi, the deputy presidential secretary, Ms Lindah Nabusayi, expressed ignorance.
“I wouldn’t know if that meeting took place. I would need to consult,” Ms Nabusayi told the Daily Monitor yesterday.
Her boss, Mr Tamale Mirundi, however, questioned the timing of Ms Mbabazi’s revelation.
“Why didn’t Madam Mbabazi reveal it at the time when it was more relevant? It is irrelevant now. When people are facing challenges they get excuses. Some say it is because of their outspokenness that they are being persecuted,” Mr Mirundi said.
Whereas this newspaper could not get Dr Besigye to respond to these revelations, Prof Ogenga Latigo, one of the vice chairpersons of the FDC party, said whatever is happening is good for the future of Uganda.
He said it could herald a phase of Ugandans condemning the ills committed against fellow countrymen irrespective of the victims’ political affiliation.
He said Ms Mbabazi could have been “rudely awakened” by the manner in which her husband was attacked in Kyankwanzi, adding that it should serve as a lesson to those in leadership that things evolve and that ills are bad.