Forum for Democratic Change president Kizza Besigye yesterday accused police of flouting a court ruling, which declared his detention under a colonial era “preventive arrest” ordinance unlawful.
At a press conference attended by senior opposition officials, Dr Besigye, who for the second week remains restricted to his Kasangati home by the police, said he had not yet run out of tricks to get him into the city centre.
The leader of the major leading opposition party twice evaded a police cordon around his home and appeared in the city centre last week before being arrested.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, who returned on Sunday from Sweden, was also barred by police from leaving his home in Rubaga.
By press time yesterday, several policemen were still at Mr Lukwago’s home and a patrol car was parked right in front of his gate to bar any car from moving out. But the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson, Mr Ibin Ssenkumbi, said he was not aware of the development.
“The police have become an aggressor. We are supposed to be protected by police from aggressors now we do not know what to do since even heeding court orders has become impossible. Just last year after detaining me in my house, a court ruled that it was unlawful. What else can we do?” Dr Besigye asked.
In October last year, Dr Besigye dragged the Inspector General of Police, Lt. Gen. Kale Kahiyura, and the Regional Police Commander Kampala Metropolitan North, Mr Sam Omala, to court, challenging his being placed under preventive arrest.
Kasangati Grade One magistrate Jessica Chemeri ruled that police detention of Dr Besigye under a colonial era law of “preventive arrest” was illegal.
Citing that a detention centre must be a gazetted area as per the Constitution, Ms Chemeri said detaining Dr Besigye at his Kasangati home was unlawful. But Mr Omala yesterday said: “Besigye has not been blocked from walking or moving out of his house. He just wants to make news.”
Dr Besigye’s lawyers, led by Mr Asuman Basalirwa are, however, going back to court to seek a declaration that the police are acting in contempt of court. “We shall seek redress from court and also other human rights bodies like the Uganda Human Rights Commission and international bodies like the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to which Uganda is a signatory. Police are acting with impunity by saying our client’s movements are not restricted and yet not allowing him to move,” Mr Basalirwa said.
Police remain heavily deployed on the road leading to Dr Besigye’s home after a mid-morning retreat from his main gate yesterday. A mixture of regular, counter-terrorism and plain-clothes police were seen in the morning all around Dr Besigye’s house, with some hiding in trees in the farm.
The heavy deployment followed a mid-Sunday night scuffle that ensued between the opposition leader and the police, who had allegedly placed a barricade at his gate.
Events at Dr Besigye’s house come in the wake of the outlawing of For God and My Country and Activists for Change pressure groups.
The opposition-linked groups recently launched a campaign against misrule as Uganda marks 50 years of independence under the umbrella ‘Walk to Freedom’. This is a follow-up to ‘Walk-to-work’ protests.