News / Africa

Uganda Opposition Leaders to Be Charged with Inciting Violence

FILE - Ugandan policemen arrest opposition leader Kizza Besigye (front L) ahead of a rally to demonstrate against corruption and economic hardships in Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 19, 2012.
FILE - Ugandan policemen arrest opposition leader Kizza Besigye (front L) ahead of a rally to demonstrate against corruption and economic hardships in Uganda's capital Kampala, Jan. 19, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Uganda opposition leaders will be charged Friday after they were arrested for unlawful assembly and inciting violence in the capital, Kampala, according to Ibin Ssenkunbi, Kampala police spokesman.

Police arrested former presidential candidate for the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Kizza Besigye, Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, parliamentarian Moses Kasibante and other opposition leaders for inciting violence aimed to create chaos in the city.

Ssenkunbi told VOA the leaders were arrested as part of a measure to prevent tension and chaos in the city.

“Depending on the investigations the arrested [leaders] are likely to be taken to court on Friday and those who would not be liable for charges would be released,” said Ssenkunbi.

“They had organized a rally, but behind it was continuous commotion, which had been organized and we had information to that effect because they had gone to the city,” said Ssenkunbi. “[They planned] inciting violence in different corners of the city to try and engage police on different fronts. But we intercepted that information and we were on high alert. So, when they started, most of the areas was covered [by police].”

Opposition parties have condemned the arrests and accuse the government of contravening the constitution by using state institutions to trample on the civil liberties of citizens. They are demanding the immediate release of their arrested colleagues.

Kampala Lord Mayor Lukwago invited the opposition leaders for a scheduled meeting to discuss strategies to help resolve the impasse with the government-supported council executives of the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA).

The KCCA executives impeached Lukwago after a tribunal report accused him of incompetence and abuse of office, among other charges. The impeachment was later thrown out by a court.

Ssenkunbi says the police arrested the opposition leaders to protect the rights of the majority from being disturbed.

“We are defending the rights of the majority because you can’t say Dr. Besigye is enjoying his rights to the detriment to the hundreds of thousands of people who actually use Kampala roads and have businesses in Kampala,” said Ssenkunbi. “Inciting violence is illegal in Uganda and equally participating in unlawful assembly, which actually they did,” he said.

The police have often accused opposition and civil society groups of embarking on protests without a permit, which they said disrupts business activities and brings traffic to a halt. But in an interview with VOA Lukwago disagrees with the police accusations.

“That is a frivolous accusation always leveled against us by the police to curtail our rights [and] our civil liberties,” said Lukwago. “I want to assure you and the international community [that] if the police come in with the intention of giving us protection, and to ensure that the procession [is] peaceful, there [will be] no such incident like the disruption of business whatsoever.” 
Clottey interview with Ibin Ssenkunbi, Kampala Police spokesman
Clottey interview with Ibin Ssenkunbi, Kampala Police spokesmani
|| 0:00:00

You May Like

Photogallery Brussels Schools, Metro Reopen Under Heavy Guard

City remains under the highest threat alert level due to what authorities have described as a 'serious and imminent' threat of attack

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

UN Warns Air Pollution in Asia Pacific Has Rising Cost

Globally some seven million people a year die prematurely due to indoor and outdoor pollution with about 70 per cent of those deaths in region

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: Mayanja lawrence from: Uganda
January 10, 2014 3:10 PM
It is the police and the govt that brings caos to the nation they use tax payers money to kick the mayor out of the city office they have been arrests at his home and police custody many time

by: vandi from: nigeria
January 10, 2014 8:00 AM
lawful protest is now unlawful because of the type of administration runned by african corrupt leaders.

By the Numbers

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs