Abusing the law against Besigye
Posted Thursday, March 7 2013 at 02:00
He was elected president of South Africa on April 27, 1994 in the first democratic elections held under universal adult suffrage
There is an unfortunate degeneration in the State’s antagonistic relationship with Dr Kizza Besigye, leader emeritus of the country’s largest opposition political group, the Forum for Democratic Change.
Within a space of four days, he has been stoned and roughed-up by a gang believed to have been working with the Police, violently arrested, held without charge for hours and dragged out of a public transport vehicle.
The cruel attacks on Dr Besigye and other opposition politicians is a rude reminder of the lumpen ‘Kiboko Squad’ which for long deployed alongside the security services to violently break up peaceful public protests and opposition rallies.
You may disagree with opposition politics but it is appalling that a government led by President Museveni condones such wanton behaviour which reduces its democratic pretensions or claims to respect for human rights.
These gross actions of the police reflect very badly on the President’s routine reminders that he waged a guerilla war against previous governments in order to restore the rule of law in Uganda.
Not enough has been said about the abuse of an ancient ordinance which makes it possible for one to be denied freedom of movement. The so-called preventive arrest provision being used against Dr Besigye is not unlike the illegitimate banning orders used against African National Congress leaders by the white supremacist National Party government in South Africa under its racist Apartheid system.
Such ANC luminaries as Walter Sisulu, Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela who together founded that party’s energetic youth league were victims of this abhorrent device.
When one was banned, your freedom to participate in public life was severely restricted. But despite the NP’s most vicious tactics, the ANC prevailed. Mr Mandela who had spent 27 years in prison was released on February 11, 1990. He was elected president of South Africa on April 27, 1994 in the first democratic elections held under universal adult suffrage
A long-suffering victim of State-inspired violence, Dr Besigye is, in effect, a banned person today.
He can do little freely outside the narrow confines of his house. The State has taken away his freedom. What the State is doing cannot be defended because it is within his constitutional rights to oppose the government.