Ugandan court defers Besigye bail application

Monday July 11 2016

Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye in the dock at Moroto Court on May 16, 2016 where the order was given for his transfer to Luzira prison in Kampala. PHOTO | STEVEN ARIONG

Uganda's opposition leader Dr Kizza Besigye today suffered a setback after a High Court in Kampala deferred his bail application ruling.

High Court Judge Wilson Musalu Musene said the court is verifying the grounds for his bail application and that the ruling will be heard on Tuesday.

Dr Besigye, 60, applied for bail on the grounds of advanced age.

Other grounds he cites are prosecution’s slow progress on investigations and apparent lack of readiness to proceed with the trial, which Dr Besigye interprets as mistreatment. He was arrested on May 11 after a video in which he was swearing in as president was released and went viral.

Besigye was arrested and flown to the remote district of Moroto in the Karamoja sub region. He was charged with treason and days later, he was transferred to Kampala, and detained at Luzira before being produced before the chief magistrate at Nakawa who also read to him treason charges before remanding him.

Roads closed


The Electoral Commission declared President Yoweri Museveni as winner and Besigye as the runner-up in the February 18 presidential election.

As Dr Besigye was brought to court from Luzira on Monday, and for the length of the bail hearing, traffic flow in the city was paralysed because several roads around the High Court were closed by security officials.

The same is expected when the four-time presidential candidate returns to court on Tuesday.

Whenever Dr Besigye is brought to court from Luzira, or each time he appears in public in the city, security officials become edgy and block access to certain roads in order to stop his supporters from making processions, which could lead to protests.