The wife of jailed Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye says her husband is in good spirits and is looking forward to his bail hearing. Winnie Byanyima visited her husband Monday at Luzira Prison, where he has been held since his arrest earlier this month on charges of treason and rape.
Mrs. Besigye told English to Africa reporter James Butty that her husband has not been on a hunger strike. She says “the shifting goalposts” set by the Ugandan authorities have frustrated her husband and made his situation in prison more difficult. Mrs. Besigye says her husband does not enjoy the same rights that other prisoners enjoy. For example, Mrs. Besigye says other prisoners can have visits from friends or family members, but when Mr. Besigye’s party officials came to visit him, they were turned away and were told to seek special permission from the top prison authorities. Mrs. Besigye says when she asked why they couldn’t visit, she was told her husband is a special prisoner. She says she then asked prison authorities if they would allow her to prepare meals for her husband since he is a special prisoner. Mr. Besigye has indicated that he is not safe with prison authorities preparing his meals. Mrs. Besigye says she was told by the prison commander that her husband was like every other prisoner, and that the authorities did not want to set a precedent.
Mrs. Besigye says her husband has spent the last four years alerting the international community about the failed democratization process in Uganda and the consequences that might result from that failure. Mrs. Besigye says her husband is not particularly concerned about his own situation. Instead, she says he would like the international community to focus on the stalled democratization process in Uganda; and if his imprisonment results in closer attention to those issues, he will be a very happy man.