By Henry D Gombya in London, Jessica A Badebye and Ruth Namatovu in Kampala
The recently concluded Uganda general election in which Yoweri Museveni, the Ugandan leader for the last 30 years won a sixth consecutive term of office, has been described by the man he beat as being ‘a creeping military coup’.
In a press statement he released soon after the Uganda Electoral Commission (EC) declared Museveni as the winner and still Ugandan leader since 1986, Dr Kizza Besigye, leader of the main opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) said that Ugandans and the whole world saw what must have been ‘the most fraudulent electoral process in Uganda’. “We participated in this process to highlight and show the world quite how fraudulent this military regime is,” said Dr Besigye. “The EC is not independent and its technical incompetence and partnership has been made clear to all to see,” he added. The Ugandan opposition leader spoke soon after being released from detention, the second of its kind since the election process started last Thursday. He said he, together with the FDC leader Mr Mugisha Muntu, FDC’s chief mobilise Ingrid Turinawe and other FDC officials had been arrested at their party headquarters as the ECD was announcing results of the elections throughout the country. “This can only be described as an illegal collective punishment and an offence under international law, Dr Besigye said of their ordeal.
On Friday, teargas rocked Uganda’s capital Kampala as police once again arrested presidential hopeful Dr. Kizza Besigye, together with his party president Major General Mugisha Muntu and Ingrid Turinawe the party’s chief organiser and locked them up at Naggalama police station situated outside Kampala. Armed policemen had stormed the FDC headquarters in Najjanankumbi, a Kampala suburb at around midday claiming that they had received intelligence information that Besigye, his party president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu who still holds the record for being Museveni’s longest serving army commander, and the FDC women’s wing leader Ingrid Turinawe had instituted their own tallying centre and were receiving results from various places. FDC’s electoral commission chairman Dan Mugarura confirmed this to The London Evening Post via telephone saying: “It’s true. We instituted our own tallying centre because we wanted to announce our own results after the Electoral Commission announced theirs in case we didn’t agree with the results.”
However, the police commander in charge of the operation at the FDC headquarters, Andrew Felix Kaweesa told journalists just after the scuffle between police and the Besigye team that they had illegally set up a tallying centre and were announcing unconfirmed results before the EC chairman Badru Kiggundu who set up the national tallying centre at Uganda’s national sports stadium at Namboole issued his. In effecting Besigye’s arrest on Friday, police cut off the Entebbe express highway for hours as it fired teargas and live bullets to disperse off crowds in various places and thereby paralysing businesses. The London Evening Post witnessed live bullets and teargas flying in the air at the Katwe Roundabout, a busy trading centre just outside the city on the Entebbe Road as police forced people out of their shops claiming it was hunting for would-be Besigye’s supporters suspected of inciting violence. Ordinary people also burnt tyres and would in the middle of the road protesting the police’s actions. Each time results were announced that Museveni was in the lead in various places in Kampala, Besigye’s supporters would riot forcing police to intervene.