Besigye arrested again, police vow to keep siege

Dr Besigye

KAMPALA- Dr Kizza Besigye was yesterday arrested again as police insisted on keeping the siege on his Kasangati home despite the Opposition leader insisting that there is a court order against him being detained at home. He was trying to leave his home to an unspecified place.

Speaking to Daily Monitor before his arrest yesterday, Dr Besigye claimed the order issued by the Kasangati Magistrates Court in 2011 against him being held at home is still valid, but that the police were acting with “impunity” by continuing to detain him there.

“This can only be stopped if there is a court order against the police [continuing to restrict Dr Besigye],” police spokesman Fred Enanga told police at the police headquarters in Naguru yesterday.

Mr Ernest Kalibbala, one of Dr Besigye’s lawyers, told Daily Monitor on Sunday that they had filed another application for an order to bar the police from besieging Dr Besigye’s home.

In the 2011 order, then Grade One Magistrate Jessica Chemeri of Kasangati ruled: “His detention was unlawful as he was not kept in a lawful detention centre and this was beyond the constitutional 48 hours.”

Since election day on February 18, Dr Besigye has been held by police on nine occasions, including on Sunday when he was briefly detained at Kira road police station after attending a church service at All Saints Church Nakasero.

Mr Enanga said the police continue to detain Dr Besigye because he and his FDC party have threatened to mobilise protests against the results of the presidential election as declared by the Electoral Commission, which show that President Museveni won with 60.7 per cent of the votes.

Dr Besigye, according to the official results, scored 35 per cent of the votes. “We are happy with the arrangement [of keeping Dr Besigye in detention] because there have been no ugly scenes in the city,” Mr Enanga said.

On all except one working day since election day, Dr Besigye has spent the day in a police cell and dropped at his gate in the night.

In his first press briefing on February 21, after the release of presidential election results, Dr Besigye said he needed to be free to gather evidence to decide whether to challenge the election.

He had said he would go to the Electoral Commission to get documents he needed to petition results but police blocked him, saying his intention was to cause chaos.

One of Dr Besigye’s lawyers, Mr David Mpanga, said Dr Besigye had not been given a fair chance to prepare for a possible petition.

Mr Enanga said some of Dr Besigye’s visitors are blocked from meeting with him because the police fear that they could encourage him “to continue with his defiance activities”.