Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni has told foreigners not to interfere in the internal affairs of his country. Mr. Museveni made the comments Wednesday night while addressing a convention of his National Resistance Movement. His remarks came as foreign diplomats stationed in Uganda met with government ministers to voice concerns over the arrest of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who was arrested Monday and charged with treason and rape.
Hope Mwesigye is minister in charge of parliamentary affairs. From Kampala, she told English to Africa reporter James Butty that under the Ugandan legal system, the director of public prosecution has the power to prosecute anyone suspected of committing a crime. According to Ms. Mwesigye, the arrest of Mr. Besigye is part of due process under the law. She rejects claims by Mr. Besigye’s party that charges against him are bogus and that the Ugandan court is a kangaroo court. Ms. Mwesigye says Mr. Besigye, not his party, committed the crimes. She says Mr. Besigye’s party, the opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), should allow the legal process to take its course.
Ms. Mwesigye says if Dr. Besigye is found innocent, he will be released. But she says if he is found guilty, the law will take its course. Ms. Mwesigye notes that rape is a criminal offense – that it is committed against government – so it is appropriate for the government, and not the victim, to bring charges against Mr. Besigye. It has taken a while to bring the criminal charges, but Ms. Mwesigye says there is no statute of limitation on crimes in Uganda. She also refutes FDC claims that the People’s Redemption Army, which Mr. Besigye is accused of belonging to, is a figment of President Museveni’s imagination. She says the United Nations confirmed recently that the PRA exists as a rebel group. Ms. Mwesigye says she cannot provide evidence that Mr. Besigye belongs to the PRA, but she believes the director of public prosecution arrested Mr. Besigye on prima facie evidence, which is enough evidence for arrest and prosecution.