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Uganda continue harassing opposition

Source: Norman S. Miwambo
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A number of opposition politicians in an East African country were arrested in Kampala when they tried to protest against the government's decision to hike the prices of essential commodities. Critics say the increase is a result of the money used to buy voters during the the February 18, Presidential elections.

Uganda police spokesperson Judith Nabakoba told this newspaper that the opposition leaders in the country have been arrested when they tried to cut off roads leading to the capital-Kampala.

“He [Besigye] was arrested after blocking a road leading into Kampala,” in a telephone interview Ms Nabakooba told this newspaper. She explained that: “Police tried to remove him out of the road, but he resisted.” Ms. Nabakooba was referring to the leader of the main opposition party the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Dr. Kiiza Besgye, like other oppositions maintain that they were robbed through massive rigging during the February 18, 2011, Presidential elections. Dr Bersigye who was the main challenger with 26 percent of the votes, dismissed the results. But Museveni threatened to throw him behind the bars, if he dares to cause civil protests in the country. Before the elections election, Dr. Besigye had called for a Tunisia, Egypt-style upraising s in case of fraud.

When asked why tear gas has been used, Nabakooba said: “the teargas has been used to disperse a throwing-stone group which was blocking a road leading to city.” Dr. Besigye also a former personal doctor to President Yoweri Museveni, was briefly etained at Kasangati Police post 9 miles north of the capital Kampala. Then charged with inciting violence and failure not comply with police orders.

This is not the first time being arrested, on November 14, 2005; he was arrested after the state levelled charges of concealment of treason and rape charges which were later thrown out of court. The November 2005, arrest just after his return from exile sparked off riots, leading his supporters onto Kampala streets in protest and paralysed the capital after they accused the government of concocting the charges against their man.

Just after the February elections, the European observers said: “Power of incumbency was exercised to such an extent as to compromise severely the level playing field between the competition candidates and political parties.”

Although, the police chief Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura had threatened Before his arrested, over the weekend, Dr Besigye had told the media [that: “We are not going to be intimidated. People have the cause to hold peaceful demonstration.

Others who have been arrested include the Democratic Party (DP) President General Norbert Mao who also tried to lead a walk protest against the soaring prices of essential commodities in the country. Mao was detained at Jinja Road police Station.

Also the Chairman of Public Accounts Committee in the Uganda Parliament, Nandala Mafabi, who is a representative of Budadiri West, MP for Bugweri Abdul Kantuntu, MP elect for Bukooli Central, Wafula Oguttu a former staunch NRM, FDC Treasurer and MP elct for Rukiga, Jack Sabiti, are among the detainees at Jinja Road Police Station.

Busiro east MP elect, Medard Lubega Segona said: “We knew such situation will.”

“For example Moses Kasibante had been arrested, handcuffed, bundled into the police car, but charged with throwing the stones and smash the windscreen,” MP elect Segona wondered. He described this as continuation of the harassment of the opposition in the country.

People were arrested because they decided to abandon their vehicle and walk to their work place in protest of the increasing prices of the basic essential commodities.

“Uganda is the only country in world where a person can be arrested and charged for walking,” said Mr Segona, adding that: “People were walking because they can't afford the price of petrol.”

Whilst Mzee Jabel Bidandi Ssali who was a presidential candidate in the February 18, Presidential elections, attributed the dissenting views and protest as result of the huge amount that was invested to buy the voters.

“They used a lot of money to buy the voters, to get that money from the circulation; they have to hike the prices of all the essential commodities,” said the former minister in Museveni's government, Bidandi Ssali told this newspaper. Mr Bidandi had gone at Jinja Road Police Station where DP President, Norbert Mao who had been detained at the Station. Mr Bidandi explained that: “I'm an intellectual and informed person who can understand these things; the only way they can normalize the situation, by removing the money from circulation. A lot of money was used to buy the voters, now it is this problem.”

Elsewhere, both the [Boda-boda] motor-cyclists and taxi operators who had no clients today, they welcome such a move. “I'm a Boda-boda operator, at Mackey Road stage. Yes, the situation hasn't been good on our side today, because people trekked long distances on foot to their places of work. But I have not been hurt by the whole situation; I know it will yield some fruits,” said, Wanyama Fred, a Boda-boda cyclist at Mackey Road stage.