Uganda opposition leader Besigye taken into police custody

Monday February 22 2016

Uganda's main opposition leader was taken by police on Monday to a city police station from his home where he has been under house arrest since Friday.

Kizza Besigye has rejected the results of Thursday's election won by veteran President Yoweri Museveni, and called on his supporters to join a protest march on Monday.

Official results gave Museveni 60 per cent of the vote against 35 per cent for Besigye, who was arrested three times before, during and after the election.

Police said in a statement that any such march would be illegal, adding that with the start of the new school term Monday it would also "infringe on the collective rights of the parents and their school-going children".

Besigye was placed under house arrest on Friday after police raided his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) headquarters accusing party officials of planning to release their own tally of results, contravening electoral law.

Police on Monday took Besigye from his home in Kasangati, north of the capital Kampala, to a police station in nearby Nagalama, according to city police spokesman Patrick Onyango.


Besigye did not speak as he was bundled into a truck with tinted windows and driven away and Onyango gave no explanation for his detention.

Besigye's wife Winnie Byanyima, who is also executive director of the charity Oxfam International, tweeted a photograph of riot police outside the family home saying: "It's like a military barracks. We want peace."

Besigye has now lost four consecutive presidential elections. Each time he has cried foul and each time street protests against his defeat have been swiftly crushed by security forces.

Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, hailed his victory, and dismissed Besigye's complaints and concerns of observer groups who have criticised the election as unfair.

"The opposition are not leaders, they are just demagogues, liars, just talking, talking," the 71-year old said on Sunday.

"Those Europeans are not serious," he said in reference to European Union election observers who said Uganda's Electoral Commission lacked transparency and that police were heavy-handed in their treatment of the opposition.