Besigye boards KQ plane after Museveni clears his travel

Friday April 29 2011

Police tear gas Col. Kizza Besigye (inside his vehicle) on Thursday. Photo by Joseph Kiggundu.

Airport security officials reverse an earlier decision to block Dr Kizza Besigye and now allow him to fly out with his sister, Olive Kobusingye.

Our reporter Richard Wanambwa says Airport security chief Herman Owomugisha, who previously said he had received a telephone call “from above” to block Dr Besigye, later approached Surgeon Kobusingye at around 7:25pm, saying the opposition politician had been cleared to fly.

A highly-placed source says President Museveni had to personally intervene after being briefed by aides that Dr Besigye, battered a day earlier by a cocktail of security forces, had been stopped.

Questions are now being asked – and the repercussions might be dire - where Mr Owomugisha got the authorisation to abort the opposition politician’s flight out for treatment, an episode reportedly witnessed firsthand by a top Western diplomat.

It is not clear if Mr Owomugisha acted overzealously or was duped by other security chiefs without Mr Museveni’s knowledge.

Following the State House telephone call, Dr Besigye was rushed through to boarding without any security check and was on board Kenyan Airways flight, KQ 414, departing 8pm.