News / Africa

Besigye Prevented from Returning to Uganda on Eve of Inauguration

Uganda's opposition leader Kizza Besigye talks to the media at Jommo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, May 11, 2011
Uganda's opposition leader Kizza Besigye talks to the media at Jommo Kenyatta International Airport, in Nairobi, May 11, 2011

Just one day before Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is sworn in for a fourth term in office, opposition leader Kizza Besigye was barred from re-entering the country Wednesday.  He later said he was cleared to return but was still in Kenya late in the day. 

With Uganda in the midst of civil unrest over the rising cost of living, the country’s police and armed forces are tightening security in Kampala for the inauguration ceremony of President Yoweri Museveni on Thursday.

Tuesday saw a new and unusual tactic employed to quell the “Walk to Work” protests in Kampala as Uganda’s police drenched protesters with pink paint and once again arrested opposition leader Norbert Mao.

The latest move, however, came Wednesday morning when opposition chief Kizza Besigye was barred from returning to Uganda after a week spent in a Kenyan hospital.

Besigye spent the majority of Wednesday seated in a VIP lounge at Nairobi’s Jomo Kenyatta airport after being told to exit Kenya Airways flight 410, which was scheduled to arrive in Uganda just after 9:00 a.m.

Kenya Airways said it had received information that the plane would not be allowed to land at Entebbe International Airport if the opposition leader was on board.

Officials from the Ugandan government have denied a role in barring Besigye's return to Kampala.

But Wafula Ogutu, a spokesman for Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change rejected the denial.

“It is a lie. He was seated already in the plane. The air hostess who went to offload Dr. Besigye told him that her chief executive had received a request from the Uganda government - or information that they would not allow the plane to land in Uganda if Besigye was aboard,” said Ogutu.

It now appears that Besigye will be allowed to return to Uganda, but may not arrive until Thursday. There is speculation among Uganda’s opposition parties that the leader was barred to prevent any unrest during Thursday’s inauguration ceremony. With Thursday declared a national holiday, opposition groups said the “Walk to Work” demonstrations would become “Walk to Pray” demonstrations instead.

Besigye told reporters at the Nairobi airport the protests would continue whether or not he was present and Ogutu told VOA there were plans for a response to Besigye’s detention.

“We haven’t decided what to do but definitely there will be something. We can’t just let it pass like that. And hopefully Dr. Besigye will be allowed to come back tomorrow, which I think is not unlikely. It just further confirms that he is undergoing political persecution from the government of Uganda,” said Ogutu.

Besigye has been arrested multiple times for leading the “Walk to Work” every Monday and Thursday since April to protest the rising cost of food and fuel in Uganda. The demonstrations have been met with overwhelming force by the Ugandan police and military and have been declared illegal by President Museveni. The president will take his fourth oath of office Thursday, extending his tenure as president to over 25 years.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid