Top Uganda Presidential Aspirants Arrested By Gen. Museveni, U.S.-Backed Despot Of 30 Years

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Dr. Besigye shown in custody. Gen. David Sejusa, who has also broken from Gen. Museveni paid him a courtesy visit.

Uganda's leading opposition figure Dr. Kizza Besigye and separately Uganda's former prime minister Amama Mbabazi were arrested today by the security forces -- both are candidates in the presidential elections announced for next year.

Besigye who is the former leader of the Forum for Democratic Change was to meet supporters regarding his candidacy. Former prime minister Mbabazi has declared that he is a presidential "aspirant" and wanted to consult with supporters in Mbale. He was arrested and forced from his car and whisked by police; his daughter Rachael was also reported arrested.

Gen. Yoweri Museveni has been in power for nearly 30 years.Uganda has an Orwellian law that bans a meeting of more than three people without police clearance, a measure condemned by the United Nations and seen as a way by Gen. Museveni to block legitimate dissent and organizing by opposition leaders.

Both Besigye and Mbabazi were close associates of Gen. Museveni. Besigye broke with him many years ago and has run in the last three elections against him. He has charged that Gen. Museveni rigged those elections. In 2006 Uganda's Supreme Court ruled 4-3  that the elections had not been free and fair with intimidation, violence, voter disenfranchisement, and other irregularities. Yet the court did not call for new elections.

Separately the opposition leaders have declared that they will nominate one candidate to run against Gen. Museveni in 2016. They have said the elections will not take place until there are electoral reforms and Gen. Museveni's hand-picked election commission is replaced by an independent one.

The Inspector General of Uganda Police Force, Gen. Kale Kayihura says the police is acting under preventative measure in arresting the two leaders.

Dr. Besigyehad planned to launch his campaign today near his home in Kasangati suburb in Kampala.

While in the U.S. last month Dr. Besigye delpored the United States' support for Gen. Museveni by "nursing" a dictatorship.

Mbabazi's arrest was announced by Police Operations Commander Andrew Kaweesi.

We gave Mbabazi two options. To either return to Kampala peacefully or we take him back by force. He refused to oblige. So we had to arrest him,” Kaweesi said.

He added: “We shall not allow him to go to Mbale whatsoever. He must follow laid down procedures of conducting meetings. He is now under our control and his convoy is being led back to Kampala.”


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