Besigye return: Live update

Dr. Kizza Besigye and his wife Winnie Byanyima on their way from Entebbe Airport on 12th-05-2011. Besigye was from Kenya where he has undergoing medical treatment after he was sprayed with pepper which affected his eyes. PHOTO BY JOSEPH KIGGUNDU

THURSDAY 12th 2011

20:03 EAT: Dr Besigye has spoken very briefly to the crowd and left the Nsambya Ground. He is, right now, being driven to his Kasangati home in the Gayaza area northwest of Kampala -- approximately 15 kilometres from the city centre.

When he spoke, our reporter says Dr Besigye called for a continuation of walk-to-work protests against the high price of fuel and rising cost of living on Monday next week. He thanked “Kenyans for fighting for him when Uganda ignored him” and said that “the world now knows who the exact leader of Uganda is.” Security personnel are harassing and hustling people trying to make their way home from the Nsambya-Queensway-Kibuye area of downtown Kampala.

19:45 EAT: Between Kampala and Dr Besigye’s home in the Kasangati suburb, our reporters say police and the military have mounted one of the heaviest deployments seen since the security forces commenced daily dawn-to-dusk patrols of the city and its environs immediately after election day on February 18.

At the Nsambya Ground, a very exhausted Dr Besigye and his wife, Winnie remain in their car. The place is teeming with people estimated to be in their thousands, cheering – the din is deafening. FDC party officials are struggling to re-locate the public address system nearer to where Dr Besigye is so that he can speak to the people.

It is not yet possible to determine how many people have been injured – or possibly killed – in the chaos which broke out when the police and army went out of control …

19:12 EAT: Police lead cars and armoured military vehicles escorting Dr Besigye arrive at the Nsambya Grounds with sirens blaring. The shooting has stopped, celebrations break out … even as the situation remains tense.

19:05 EAT: Shots are flying all over Nsambya Ground. People are lying down in fear of being hit. The army and police appear to have run out of control.

18:56 EAT:  The Nsambya crowds now seeing teargas at Queensway, a couple of kilometres away, which is aimed at Dr Besigye and his team is getting rowdy, reportsWalter Wafula.

18:53 EAT: There is total chaos as Dr Besigye’s convoy approaches Queensway. Soldiers charge the crowd as heavy gunfire rocks the air. Civilians, including local and foreign journalists are being beaten indiscriminately. Cameras and other equipment belonging to the journalists have been confiscated.

18:45 EAT: A fierce battle is raging at Kibuye Total as police and soldiers get confrontational with the bodas ahead of Dr Besigye’s procession. They are beaten, some undressed and many run leaving behind their motor cycles.  Police and soldiers are firing volleys of live fire in the air, even as they drive battle wagons into the procession in a bid to break it up as it nears the busy Queensway roundabout. Riot police also open up on the crowds with water canon, gushing torrents of blue and pink-coloured water together with teargas.

18:32 EAT: At Nsambya, there is thunderous applause as opposition politicians Eddy Yawe and Ingrid Turinawe arrive.

18:24 EAT: As the convoy approaches Kibuye, Kampala, police again starts beating up people and throwing them off the road. Many are seen walking with their hands as up and boda bodas have been left alone as scores scamper.

18:12 EAT: Nsambya people are increasing because word has been announced that Dr Besigye had reached at Najjanankumbi. FDC officials, Dan Mugarura, Anne Mugisha and others are addressing the crowds and keeping them busy. Police deployment also keeps increasing. Riot police is pacing around the grounds and military officers too.

18:08 EAT: Besigye is in Najjanankumbi heading to Stella, riot police teargass the crowds to reduce them which is partly achieved as the convoy continues.

17:50 EAT: Convoy has approached Namasuba Turkish academy on their way to Najjanankumbi. The crowd keeps growing and the reporters say the military men and police have started to peacefully accept the crowd and stopped beating.

17:49 EAT: Upcoming artists entertain crowds at Nsambya, dance, colour, funfare and partying is on as loud music of jubilation fills the air at the grounds as they wait for Dr Besigye.

17:19 EAT: As the convoy approached Roofings Lubowa, Police Patrol car UP 2629 white deliberately knocks car carrying Daily Monitor journalists. The officers on board mock our reporters, telling them that they shouldn’t ever go back to cover Dr Besigye. Meanwhile the three huge military troop carriers which escorted President Museveni to Entebbe have returned and joined the opposition convoy.

17:12 EAT: At Nsambya ground, Walter Wafula reports that business is good with people poster pictures of retired colonel Dr Besigye and his wife, Winnie Byanyima, doing a brisk trade. Calendars with pictures of former army commander Maj. Gen. (trd) Mugisha Muntu in military fatigue and Dr Besigye are also selling each at Shs1000. Although there is heavy troop deployment, the crowd is waiting at the Nsambya Grounds for the opposition leader.

16:59 EAT: Besigye is now approaching Fuelex in Lweza, the crowds are jubilating, stones pelting stopped but military caning still going. Our reporter Martin Sebuyira reports that Robert Mugabe, the Zimbabwean president in car number A402P just passed and no incident.

16:46 EAT: The army is carrying out a swoop in the Kibuye-Ndeeba area, moving from house and indiscriminately arresting people even though the situation has calmed down.

16:40 EAT: At Lweza centre- The military engaged in running battles with pockets of crowds that keep trying to get closer to the highway.

16:33 EAT: At Kajjansi, Dr. Besigye changes vehicles from the surf to Prado silver color number plate UAN 349 T.

16:24 EAT: Red Cross tells our reporter Philippa that they have registered 27 injuries between Kajjansi and Kisubi but also say they haven’t got any gunshot victim. They say that 23were minor injuries, 3 were accidents, 1 was suffering from shock from teargas and all have been treated.

16:18 EAT: Some delegates going to Entebbe and crowds are throwing stones. Dr. Kizza Besigye dodges a stone aimed at his head but later calls for calm. Crowds pelt stones at a carina car with delegates’ sticker UAM056P on its way to Kampala from Entebbe and it loses a window.

16:14 EAT: Dr. Besigye convoy starts again and now moving close to Kajjansi and the crowds are swelling. People are very many. Some military officers following in their vehicles while others walking on foot.

16:10 EAT: The army is firing live rounds in an attempt to disperse the crowds at Kibuye roundabout. Pandemonium has broken out as civilians run for cover.

16:02 EAT: Convoy starts again and now moving close to Kajjansi and the crowds are swelling. People are very many. Some military officers moving along in the vehicles while others walking on foot

15:45 EAT: Besigye Convoy still held at Bwebajja. Mukasa Mulindwa, one of the WBS journalists covering Dr Besigye’s return confirms to our reporter, Philippa, that his camera has been confiscated by soldiers as he took pictures of the shooting of a civilian. He, however, tells her that he isn’t sure that the person who was apparently shot has died.

15: 10 EAT: Our reporter Mercy Nalugo reports: Stones have been hurled at Police chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura as he marched towards the crowd gathered  at the Kibuye roundabout area. Police responded by lobbing teargas canisters into the crowd which dispersed with some people fleeing as far as the Lubiri in Mengo.

14:56 EAT: President Museveni is said to be around Sseguku heading to Entebbe statehouse. Dr Besigye crowds have been stopped on the junction that goes to Akright estates as you get into Bwebajja.

14:36 EAT: At Namulanda military officers continue ordering people to clear the road and using canes to beat back those who resist or do not make way fast enough. However , crowds keep surging back towards the road . Dr. Besigye, who has been greeting well wishers since his convoy left Entebbe airport 3hours ago looks exhausted.

14:25 EAT: A very large crowd of people is converging on Kibuye roundabout, the first intersection of the Kampala-Entebbe Highway. People started thronging the spot as early as 10.00 a.m. today and a carnival atmosphere is building up over the place. Our reporter, Mercy Nalugo, reports that private vehicles arriving from the Nateete side are being boarded at will by very enthusiastic supporters of the Forum for Democratic Change leader. Hundreds of armed men in military and police uniform uniforms have deployed around as the people await arrival of the Dr Besigye convoy.

14:18 EAT: Convoy now in Kawuku heading to Kampala

14:18 EAT: Still at Kisubi, supporters block the panya (short cut) where their leader had been forced to divert by the police. They started burning tyres and the convoy feared using the road, choosing to take the main road.

14:04 EAT: The army tries to convince Dr Besigye to agree that he be escorted to Nsambya but he has refused, saying he can’t leave his people

14:01 EAT: At the Kisubi junction to the seminary, the convoy is thrown off the road. There is speculation that some foreign guests invited for the ceremony are going back to their countries. Military in full swing.

13:50 EAT: Daily Monitor reporter Philippa Croome reports: Dr Besigye says on phone from his car that he feels strong because he is with his people who are demonstrating for their rights. DP president Norbert Mao also says this is the kind of government which we have always wanted and “We are going straight to Nsambya grounds.”

13:35 EAT: Still at Kisubi, convoy moving slowly, beatings of the people by soldiers continue as people throw stones at them in retaliation. The army has started firing in the air and crowds dash for dear life. Police starts using blue teargas colouring almost all the people in the crowd.

13:18 EAT: Winnie gets out of the car, refuses to put the injured man on the ambulance for fear he will be killed because it is a police ambulance. The injured man Yusuf Kavuma is a journalist with Sky Magazine he was taking a photo of a military guy beating the crowds and his head was hit and he started bleeding.

13:17 EAT: It has attracted attention of the crowds ahead and they are coming back to see what happens.

13:15 EAT Thousands of supporters, Fire brigade vehicles also in the middle of the convoy.

13:10 EAT: Kisubi military starts beating people who are standing on the road sides and people react by throwing stones.

13:03 EAT: One injured man, DP President Mao, MP Elijah Okupa helping him onto the police ambulance. He has been hit on the head and is bleeding profusely. Mao’s shirt full of blood. The army and military have reinforced and come in plenty.

12:57 EAT: Military attempts to divert the convoy at Kitala to take some panya roads to town but Dr Besigye resisted and it continued moving but a very slow pace. Many army trucks with SFG soldiers are moving very close to Besigye in their cars. Crowds have reduced and many stuck on the roads sides watching.

11:30 EAT: Still at Abayita ababiri crowds have become much more and almost 20 vehicles of military, regular, anti-riot, teargas and army have broken into the  convoy making it stuck.

11:04 EAT: At Abayita ababiri convoy takes more than 30minutes yet it is less than a km from Kitubulu.  Crowds keep growing and cars from Kampala are stuck on the road and for those with a flight to take, they could be stuck.

11:04 EAT: At Kitubulu Police starts caning each and everyone and the numbers have reduced. Besigye has stopped to find out what is happening to his people. The number of walkers had reduced. Military police got tree branches and decided to beat whoever was following.

10:53 EAT: Military police mounts 2 road blocks one at the UN base and the second at Kitubulu centre where more crowds are waiting for the opposition leader.

10:47 EAT: At the Total and Shell petrol stations, there are over 500 people following him and the crowds keep growing, by-standers are also so many. People have made two lanes in the road and police is trying to force them into one lane.

10:38 EAT: At Muzinga trading center, police tries to block the masses but they have now grown. A group ahead of Besigye car is carrying a banner with words; “Entebbe municipality welcomes back Dr Besigye” and they are making Police work very difficult. He is dressed with a blue Scarf inscribed ‘walk to walk’.

10:30 EAT: Besigye convoy of only three vehicles reach Kitoro trading center where people have waited behind buildings after being chased by police. They follow, shouting praises to him, making his travel at a snail speed.

People keep swelling in numbers at each moment. And as he approaches state house, anti-riot police, fully dressed is very heavy and they are dispersing people who won’t relent. Dr Besigye, waiving at his people, is being driven in blue surf UAJ O54B.

10:20 EAT: Only five journalists from NTV, Radio One, New Vision, NBS and Red Pepper have been allowed into the Entebbe Airport VIP lounge where Dr Kizza Besigye is still negotiating with security officials to allow him address a press conference. Assistant Inspector General of Police Asan Kasingye read out a list of the media houses, excluding Daily Monitor, which would be allowed into the lounge. FDC officials Maj. Gen Mugisha Muntu, Bugweri MP Abdu Katuntu, Chapaa Karuhanga, Bukhooli Central MP-elect Wafula Oguttu, Kitgum Woman MP Beatrice Anywar, Mbale Municipality MP Wamai Wamanga and Joyce Ssebugwawo are inside the lounge.

Meanwhile, a number of other party officials have also been refused access to the airport and are waiting with supporters in Kitooro area of Entebbe.

Our reporters say police and soldiers are beating and chasing away people who wanted to welcome Dr Besigye from the Entebbe-Highway.

10:00 EAT: Forum for Democratic Change president, Dr Kizza Besigye, has arrived in the country aboard a Kenya Airways which landed at Entebbe Airport shortly before 9.30 a.m., bringing an end to a fiasco lasting more than 24 hours when the airline yesterday offloaded him from its early morning flight. Riot and regular police backed by soldiers are crawling all over the airport. Daily Monitor reporters in the arrivals section report that even on the steps leading up to the VIP lounge, police have posted men. Two police escort vehicles are waiting on the tarmac to escort the opposition leader to Kampala.

WEDNEDAY 11th 2011

19: 00 EAT: Kenya Airways flight KQ 414 has left Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi, at 1750hrs without opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye. He had been re-scheduled to come aboard this flight following this morning’s dramatic events which saw the airline offload him from the early morning flight on the grounds that they had intelligence the plane would not be allowed to land at Entebbe, Uganda with him on board.

16: 50 EAT: It remains unclear whether Dr Besigye will be aboard his rescheduled Kenya Airways flight to Uganda this evening. Family sources have told Daily Monitor that the opposition leader and his wife are still at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport but have not given any indication that they have changed their minds about not coming on the night flight.

15: 58 EAT: Opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye remains at Kenya’s Jomo Kenyatta Airport minutes after Kenya Airways issued a statement that the evening flight to Uganda will be allowed to land with him on board. Sources close to the family say he is still exploring all his options and has not taken a position on whether to accept the offer or not.

15: 30 EAT: Kenya Airways has confirmed to its passengers, customers, investors and the public that Ugandan Opposition Leader Dr. Kizza Besigye is now scheduled to depart on KQ414/11th May departing Jomo Kenyatta International Airport for Entebbe International Airport at 1750hrs. The airline has now confirmed and issued Dr. Besigye and his wife tickets to depart Nairobi in the evening. The airline takes earliest opportunity to apologize to Dr. Besigye for any inconveniences caused.

13: 50 EAT: Dr Besigye remains locked in negotiations with Kenya Airways officials over which alternative flight he can take to Uganda after the airline offloaded him off the early morning KQ 410 today. The discussions are underway at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Forum for Democratic Change officials say the 7.00 a.m. flight for tomorrow appears to be fully booked.

13: 30 EAT: Traders at the busy down-town Kisekka Market in central Kampala have closed their shops and are staring down riot police and other security personnel. Matters quickly threatened to get out of hand at about 1.00 p.m. when tempers boiled over as discussions over the refusal to allow Dr Besigye to return home aboard a Kenya Airways flight this morning became heated. Our reporters on the scene report a stand-off of sorts as the police deploy in very large numbers.

12: 15 EAT: Information reaching the Media Centre is that Dr. Kizza Besigye has been offered a seat on the 5:00 pm Kenya Airways flight from Nairobi. Dr. Besigye has apparently rejected this arrangement with Kenya Airways opting to travel tomorrow or at a later date.

11: 23 EAT: Three hours after he checked in, opposition leader Dr Besigye is still waiting for an explanation from Kenya Airways as to why they offloaded him from the morning KQ 410 flight which landed in Entebbe, Uganda, shortly 9.00 a.m. this morning. FDC sources tell Daily Monitor their leader is still seated in the VIP section of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport’s departures’ lounge.

11: 23 EAT: Police has heavily deployed along Entebbe-Kampala Highway. Our reporters says civilians are not being allowed to come close to the road. Further back in Entebbe, the military police and riot police have also staked out the airport and the route leading into town.

10:49 EAT: Opposition politicians led by FDC party vice president for eastern Uganda, Ms Salaam Musumba, have just addressed a press conference at Kitooro in Entebbe. Ms Musumba said Dr Besigye checked in this morning at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport and boarded Kenya Airways flight K410, but was later offloaded. The party official said Kenya Airways individuals have since intimated to them that they allegedly received intelligence advice from Kenya security claiming that Dr Besigye presented “a security risk.” After the press conference ended, the opposition politicians boarded a bus and have headed back to Entebbe Airport. Journalists continue to be denied access to the airport premises by assorted security operatives and have pitched camp at Kitooro, more than a kilometre away.

10:36 EAT: Ugandan Government is due to issue a statement about the controversy surrounding  FDC leader Dr Besigye’s aborted return to Uganda from Nairobi, Kenya. A message from the government media centre says Mr Fred Opolot, director of centre will address journalists at 11:30 a.m. in Kampala. Dr. Besigye was expected aboard the KQ 410 flight which landed at Entebee shortly after 9.00 a.m. this morning but was apparently forced off the plane before it could fly. Dr. Besigye had been receiving treatment for injuries he sustained when he was brutally arrested by security agents two weeks back

10:15 EAT: FDC officials in Kampala who called Dr Besigye on phone from the JKIA Nairobi airport lounge report that Kenya Airways management has gone into a closed door meeting as Dr Besigye waits for details of the Ugandan government alleged communication advising that their aircraft should not fly the opposition leader to Uganda Wednesday morning. Dr Besigye is with his wife Winnie Byanyima and a nurse.

09:45 EAT: Kenya Airways sources have reportedly privately informed Forum for Democratic Change officials that they were allegedly advised by Kenyan intelligence to offload Dr Kizza Besigye from the morning flight to Entebbe which landed shortly after 9.00 a.m. this morning. Aboard the flight was former Kenyan president Daniel arap Moi who is one of the invited foreign dignitaries expected to attend President Museveni’s swearing-in ceremony for a fifth term five-year term in office scheduled for tomorrow.

09:20 EAT: Entebbe Airport in crawling with police dogs and security is on high alert after reports filtered through that Dr Kizza Besigye has not been allowed to fly into the country aboard the morning Kenya Airways flight. Forum for Democratic Change officials including vice president Salaam Musumba, Maj. Ruranga Rubaramira, Kyaddondo East MP-elect Ibrahim Ssemujju along with Kampala City mayor-elect Erias Lukwago are at the airport.

Journalists have been refused access to the premises with security ordering them to remain in Kitooro area of Entebbe, more than a kilometre away from the airport.

08:30 EAT: Opposition leader, Dr Kizza Besigye, is stuck at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in Kenya after he was stopped from boarding a Kenya Airways flight to Uganda Wednesday morning. The Ugandan government however denied any such communication. When contacted Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja said the government can’t act such crudely “and that Uganda doesn’t have any authority on Kenya Airways flights.”