News / Africa

    Ugandan Lawyers: Better Ways for Government to Deal With Besigye

    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.
    A Ugandan riot policeman blocks the gate of the party headquarters of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, shortly after raiding the premises for the second time in a week, in the capital Kampala, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.
    Jill Craig

    Kizza Besigye was arrested again Monday, the latest in a series of arrests for Uganda’s main opposition candidate who lost Thursday’s elections to incumbent President Yoweri Museveni.

    Besigye had intended to lead a protest march from his home to the electoral commission, where he would gather evidence that he said would help him decide whether to contest his loss at the Supreme Court.

    Police “arrested him the moment he went outside his gate, and took him to Naggalama police station,” about 38 kilometers northeast of Kampala, Besigye's attorney said.

    Challenge allowed

    Peter Magelah, an attorney and project manager at Chapter Four, a civil rights organization based in Kampala, said if a candidate doesn’t agree with the outcome of the election, he or she can file a challenge with the Supreme Court within 10 days of the announcement of the results.

    Uganda's main opposition leader Kizza Besigye, center, is arrested by police and thrown into the back of a blacked-out police van which whisked him away and was later seen at a rural police station, outside his home in Kasangati, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.
    Uganda's main opposition leader Kizza Besigye, center, is arrested by police and thrown into the back of a blacked-out police van which whisked him away and was later seen at a rural police station, outside his home in Kasangati, Uganda, Feb. 22, 2016.

    The candidate must supply evidence to support the case.

    “If the ruling government believes it won the vote genuinely, let him challenge,” Magelah said. “Because if there is no evidence, he will still lose in court, so it defeats justice, it defeats reason to try and block him from accessing that evidence to go to court.”

    Instead, Magelah said security forces should have helped Besigye.

    “To me, my advice would have been, let police and the security agencies give him a way to look for the evidence, the evidence he’s looking for, and make sure he’s safe, and the other people are safe,” he said.

    Kampala attorney Robert Kirunda offered a different solution to how security forces should have dealt with Besigye’s planned march to the electoral commission.

    'Drive the evidence to him'

    “It is fair for the police to say that he cannot disturb the peace while doing that,” Kirunda said. “What they should have done is drive the evidence to him. ...  I think an easy way out would have been ... get all the documents he is asking for, take them to his house, he has a lavish home on a 40-acre piece of land, he has enough space to accommodate any evidence.”

    Kirunda pointed out that police arrested Besigye before he committed an offense, a practice known in Uganda as “preventive arrest.”

    FILE - Uganda's President and the presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) waves to his supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally ahead of the February 18 presidential elections in Entebbe, Uganda February
    FILE - Uganda's President and the presidential candidate Yoweri Museveni of the ruling party National Resistance Movement (NRM) waves to his supporters as he arrives at a campaign rally ahead of the February 18 presidential elections in Entebbe, Uganda February

    “If you say it’s preventive arrest, then allow him access to counsel," he said.

    "But there is a clear mischief here that he [Besigye] is trying to address and the mischief is that for you to put together a good presidential petition, you need credible evidence,” Kirunda said. “The credible evidence can only be obtained either from the electoral commission or from his agents, especially here if the issue is the tallying of results.

    "If he [Besigye] can do neither, he can’t meet with agents, he can’t meet with counsel, he can’t go to the electoral commission for forms, then there’s a fundamentally big problem here," Kirunda added.

    Reason to detain

    Kampala police spokesman Patrick Onyango said Besigye was detained for mobilizing “a group of youth to storm the electoral commission,” who Onyango said “planned to cause violence” in Kampala.

    The Ugandan electoral commission said President Museveni won Thursday’s elections with about 60.8 percent of the vote, compared to Besigye’s 35.4 percent.

    The opposition has accused Museveni operatives of vote-rigging, while Museveni has said that a European Union observer mission was wrong and “not serious” after they reported that the elections had been conducted in an “intimidating” atmosphere, undermined by a “lack of transparency and independence” at the electoral commission.

    Museveni has been in power since 1986, when his National Resistance Army took control of Uganda by force, pulling the country out of chaos following a guerrilla war.

    You May Like

    Chechen Suspected in Istanbul Attack, but Questions Remain

    Turkish sources say North Caucasus militants involved in bombing at Ataturk airport, but name of at least one alleged attacker raises doubts

    With Johnson Out, Can a New ‘Margaret Thatcher’ Save Britain?

    Contest to replace David Cameron as Britain’s prime minister started in earnest Thursday with top candidates outlining strategy to deal with Brexit fallout

    US Finds Progress Slow Against Human Trafficking in Africa

    Africa continues to be a major source and destination for human trafficking of all kinds -- from forced labor to sexual slavery, says State Department report

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Angry Ugandan citizen from: Uganda
    February 24, 2016 4:01 AM
    We came out in big numbers to vote him out because we want change, we waited in the scorching sun for ours but we didn't give up. We want to see real progress, we want a better Uganda for ourselves and and our children we want leaders who care about the well-being of this country. But Museveni and his not so independent electoral commission made a fool of us, they rigged and rigged and rigged until our votes were rubbish, they didn't count at all and as a result of the rigging Museveni won. Now here we are stuck in a state of anarchy. Some one should save us from this monster

    by: nanozi nasiiba
    February 23, 2016 5:58 PM
    One day one time Uganda will shine

    by: Anonymous
    February 22, 2016 6:03 PM
    This tyrnat is partly a creation of USA. Kerry, Rice and others should do all they can to tame the beast they created. All the military support goes to help this crazy power hungry maniac. USA is duty bound to stop this madness when a lot of USA taxpayers help Ugandans in several projects especially the regime. If Tanzania can do better, why not Uganda. It is time for this kind of backwardness to be stopped, Ugandans need help because USA has armed and trained the people Museveni is abusing and using them to terrorize others in Uganda and in the region as a whole

    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.
    Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Eitheri
    X
    Jim Malone
    June 29, 2016 6:16 PM
    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora