Uganda: Police Withdraw From Besigye Residence

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Police have withdrawn from the residence of Kizza Besigye after detaining the former presidential candidate under house arrest for more than a month.

The Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) leader told journalists on Saturday the withdrawal follows pressure from the courts, the international community and the Ugandan public. However, Besigye remains skeptical over the move and expects the police to be a continued presence in his life.

 

Mounting pressure

The move to withdraw from Besigye’s residence was ordered by Police chief Kale Kayihura. The decision reportedly came after Besigye’s case against his detention was approved by the high court – a key factor the former presidential candidate feels.

“It is the pressure from the high court, the international community and Ugandans that has forced the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura to order his officers out of my home, without this I don’t think they would  have left,” he told reporters from his home.

However, the FDC leader doesn’t believe the withdrawal of police officers from his residence makes him a free man.

“I don’t believe they have fully released me. In fact, I have been told that some of them are still monitoring me but from a distance. They are doing this because the court is about to rule on the matter,” he added.

 

Besigye urged to ‘respect the law’

Police chief Kale Kayihura had a message for Besigye following his decision to withdraw officers from his residence, calling on the politician to respect the law.

“We expect Besigye to respect the law, to stop causing trouble for people going about their private businesses,” said police chief Kayihura. “He must respect the law. If he veers off, the police is there to protect people and their property.”

However, the FDC leader remains defiant in his efforts to overturn election results that saw President Yoweri Museveni extend his 30-year rule by another term.

“I will not stop this until an independent audit of the election results has been done by election auditors. And on Tuesday next week, I will be in Najjanankumbi to attend the FDC prayers,” Besigye said.