Accessibility links

Breaking News

Uganda: General Arrested for Political Activities

FILE - In this Dec. 23, 2014 file photo, General David Sejusa returns to the capital Kampala, Uganda. A military general who opposes Uganda's longtime president was arrested ahead of presidential elections next month, his lawyer said Jan. 31, 2016.

Uganda said it arrested a military general who opposes the country's longtime president because he broke laws barring officers from supporting candidates in an election.

Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said General David Sejusa was "actively engaged in supporting partisan politics" and made statements urging people to avoid voting in the February 18 presidential election because he believed it to be a sham.

Sejusa has called President Yoweri Museveni a dictator. He was arrested Sunday and taken to a military barracks in the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

"It is unacceptable for (a) serving military officer to threaten the government, to threaten the democratic process and say we should not go for election and take over power by ourselves," Opondo said.

Sejusa's lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuzi, told VOA the arrest was illegal and that he believed it could be linked to Sejusa's work advising opposition leaders on ways to prevent election rigging.

Opondo denied that, saying the arrest was not linked to Sejusa advising main opposition leader Kizza Besigye.

Museveni has ruled Uganda since 1986 when he led a group of rebels, including Sejusa, against a government they accused of rigging elections.

Sejusa now openly accuses Museveni of violating the ideals for which they waged that guerrilla war.

In 2013, Sejusa wrote a letter to the domestic spy chief urging him to investigate allegations of a plot to kill high-ranking government officials seen as being opposed to the political rise of Museveni's son, a brigadier who commands the country's special forces.

Facing likely arrest, Sejusa sought asylum in London. He quietly returned home in December 2014.

James Butty contributed to this report.