Last Saturday, five days after the arrest of opposition Ugandan presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye, President Yoweri Museveni announced he will run in March for a third term as president. Reaction has been swift and widespread, particularly among Ugandans who live outside the country. They have been active, holding demonstrations, meetings and discussions. They have also been working to influence the opinions of foreign governments and world media against what they see as President Museveni’s suppression of political opponents in Uganda.
Ugandan-born Dr. Muniini Mulera is a consulting pediatrician in Toronto, Canada, who writes a column from abroad for Uganda’s influential newspaper the Monitor. He tells English to Africa reporter Howard Lesser that Dr. Besigye’s arrest has awakened many formerly disinterested, acquiescent Ugandans. Dr. Mulera says Mr. Museveni’s fortunes, and those of the country, will suffer unless Uganda responds to world pressure to release Mr. Besigye from prison and allow him to campaign freely against President Museveni.