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

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year 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 Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More