Uganda: Opposition Leader Urges Protests Over His Detention
Uganda’s leading opposition member urged his supporters to stage protests against his detention as he remains under house arrest.
Kizza Besigye, who has been President Museveni’s main during elections in the country, was arrested on Thursday before polling stations closed. He has remained in custody since, in a move that has been criticised by the UN and rights groups.
Besigye calls for protests
Besigye is not being allowed to leave his home, where armed police guard his residence and a barrier has been set up to keep unwarranted visitors from approaching the opposition leader. Police say his detention is to prevent him from leading protests against the results of Uganda’s contested election, but that’s precisely what he’s urging his supporters to do.
“The only way to get out of this is to use the popular numbers that we have to make sure that the gunmen do not do what they are doing,” Besigye told reporters from his home in Kampala.
“If the regime continues to restrict me, to detain me in my home … I call upon all of you citizens to protest this,” he said.
Calls for investigation
Besigye labelled Saturday’s election results fraudulent and called on the international community to investigate. He has already said he plans to visit the election commission on Monday to request copies of results from Thursday’s polls. Whether he’ll be allowed to leave his property by that stage remains to be seen.
His party has flat out rejected the results that said Museveni received more than 60 percent of all votes. International observers, including the UN, have condemned the detainment of Besigye, while Thursday’s election process has come under question on multiple grounds.
Aside from the arrest of Museveni’s biggest rival, an extensive social media block was put on Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp. Huge delays that left some voters waiting for as long as six hours have also been called a deliberate attempt to discourage voters. EU polls observers have criticised the setup of polling stations too, saying the majority lack key features of transparency.
Museveni’s victory marks his fifth term in power, which comes after 30 years of already serving as the country’s president.