Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye arrested

Tuesday September 26 2017

Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye (inside the car) in down town Kampala. PHOTO ABUBAKER LUBOWA


Ugandan opposition supremo Kizza Besigye was Tuesday arrested in down town Kampala.

The Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate was seized barely an hour to the anticipated Parliament debate on the removal of age limit cap from the Constitution.
Security agencies intercepted Dr Besigye, a four time presidential candidate, as he went to rally his supporters against the removal of Article 102 (b) that caps presidential age limit at 75 years of age, from the Constitution.
Dr Besigye refused to disembark from his car, forcing police officers led by the Kampala Central Police Station (DPC), Mr Joseph Bakaleke, to tow it away to their station where it was parked.

A free run

Dr Besigye was still inside the car.

Also arrested was the East African Legislative Assembly Member Fred Mukasa Mbidde.

Uganda has remained restive over the proposed Constitutional amendment, seen as a significant step towards securing a free run for President Yoweri Museveni to seek re-election in 2021.


President Museveni, 72, is barred by the current Constitutional from standing again as he will have surpassed the 75-year mark by the next election.

A caucus of members of the governing National Resistance Movement (NRM) last week voted unanimously in favour the motion seeking to remove the presidential age limit.

The vote in Parliament’s conference room, was the latest development in a thinly-veiled process that has been playing out in the open without official endorsement.

Opposition activists

NRM members and State House staff have been engaged in low-key, but intense mobilisation for the amendment.

Resolutions from Kisoro, a remote district at Uganda’s border with Rwanda and the DR Congo, Mbarara, the main city of the Ankole sub-region and a demonstration in Arua District, the headquarters of the West Nile sub-region supporting the lifting of the age limit, passed peacefully with police protection in a country where political gatherings, mainly for opposition activists, have often been violently broken by the security agencies.

An initial effort to present the change in a private members Bill by Nakifuma County MP Robert Kafeero earlier this year, was dismissed by some as a joke, but was sufficient to set in motion a debate that has pervaded the country now for months.