Uganda – Opposition Leader Accused of Treason

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As the President is inaugurated for a fifth term, the opposition stages a mock ceremony in protest.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been under house arrest since the Presidential elections earlier in February, in which he had disputed the results that declared President Yoweri Museveni the winner.

Besigye was arrested in Kampala on May 11th after managing to escape house arrest, staging a mock ceremony where he was sworn in as President; Lawyer Erias Lukwago said that he was then taken by security forces to the town of Moroto, around 400km away.

Lukwago commented that Besigye had been denied any legal representation and was charged with treason on May 13th; he was remanded in custody for a later court appearance on May 25th, reported Al Jazeera.

Besigye has been a long-standing opponent of Museveni and has been frequently jailed, put under house arrest and accused of numerous crimes. He was Museveni’s doctor in the 1980s war that brought him to power but has since run against him in four elections.

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Besigye election campaign from 2011 – CC

Museveni has been in power for three decades and was sworn in for a fifth term on May 12th after winning the February election with 61% of the vote. During the ceremony he criticised the International Criminal Court (ICC) which prompted a walkout by US and European Union (EU) diplomats.

The EU had called the atmosphere during the elections “intimidating” as the government banned live coverage of the protests, and also stated that the electoral body lacked independence and transparency.

Reports suggested that Besigye had managed to escape from 24 hour surveillance to make a surprise appearance in Kampala. The opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) announced the alternative inauguration.

 A video emerged showing Besigye’s “swearing-in ceremony“; Besigye is seen walking up to a podium and signing an “oath of allegiance.” Besigye adds in the video that despite providing “incontrovertible evidence” showing that he won the election with 52% of the vote, the election process was not constitutional, reported the Observer.

Outgoing FDC opposition leader Philip Wafula Oguttu said, “we are casting doubt both at home and abroad on the legitimacy of Museveni’s presidency…they will see that this matter will have to be settled politically, not in Parliament or in court.”

Following the Presidential inauguration on May 12th, the East African reported that attention has now shifted to constitutional reforms, and there have been suggestions that Museveni may remove the age limit to allow him to further extend his reign, after previously extending term limits to run in the February elections.

Find out more in the Africa Research Bulletin today:

Uganda – Besigye House Arrest Lifted
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.4, Pp.20965A–20965B

UGANDA: Post-Election Fallout
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.3, Pp.20928B–20929A

UGANDA: Museveni Wins Fifth Term
Political, Social & Cultural Series
Vol.53, Issue.2, Pp. 20879A–20880C

Subscribe to the Africa Research Bulletin today.

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