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Uganda's Besigye Goes to Court Again

Since his return to Uganda from exile, opposition leader Kizza Besigye has spent almost much of his time in court to answer government charges of treason and rape. Now he is returning the favor. Besigye has sued the director of Uganda’s Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Elizabeth Kuteesa, for conspiracy to defeat justice, abduction with intent to confine and falsify a register.

Although he was found not guilty in the rape trial, Besigye told VOA he is suing the director of criminal investigations to send a message to all public servants that wrongful political persecution will not go un-answered.

“Kuteesa testified in the case of rape against me, and in her testimony, she actually, on oath, confessed to having falsified police documents. She confessed having kidnapped one of my workers and detaining and torturing her with the intent of causing her to give evidence against me. She has not shown any remorse for her wrong deeds. And therefore my prosecution of her is first of all to show her that what she did was wrong. But in doing so, also to pass a signal to other public servants that political persecution can be punished,” he said.

Besigye, who was found not guilty in the rape case against him, said public officials should serve all citizens and not just the government in power.

“The purpose of this prosecution is to punish deliberate wrongdoing as was in the case of this public officer. But secondly and more importantly for me is to send a signal to other public officers who claim that they are doing wrong things under the order of the people who in political control of the country. The president cannot direct that you commit a crime. You must in the position to tell the president that this is unlawful, and I cannot do it,” Besigye said.

A court has issued criminal summons for Kuteesa to appear on May 29 to answer to the charges against her. Besige said he is confident she will be found guilty.

“The evidence is overwhelming because she actually confessed committing these crimes under oath, and there is a record of the High Court in which she confessed committing these crimes,” he said.

The case against Kuteesa is a criminal case. Besigye said at some point he could seek damages in a civil case.

“Yes we could in a civil case seek damages and at some stage we may consider that for the fictitious prosecution that was committed against me which was malicious and which definitely caused a lot of damage to my person we can seek damages, but not in this particular case. This is just a criminal case,” Besigye said.