Ugandan police arrest opposition leader – Africa – Al Jazeera English

Posted: April 18, 2011 in Human Rights, uganda
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Ugandan police arrest opposition leader – Africa – Al Jazeera English.

Ugandan police have arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye ahead of a planned protest over spiralling food and fuel prices in the capital Kampala.

A senior official from Besigye’s party , the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), said he was arrested on Monday as he prepared to go to work.

“Besigye was arrested as he left his house this morning and is being held in Kasangati” police station on the outskirts of Kampala, said Alice Alaso, the secretary general of the FDC.

Besigye, who came a distant second in the February 18 election that was won by Yoweri Museveni, the president, had threatened to stage Egypt-style protests if the election was rigged, but stopped short of staging a protest though he dismissed the vote as fraudulent.

On April 11 Besigye was arrested, along with several opposition politicians, for taking part in a march dubbed “walk to work” where marchers refuse to use their cars and walk to work as a protest against high fuel prices.

Al Jazeera’s Malcom Webb in Kampala said the high prices are an opportunity for the opposition to get people on the streets.

“People are unhappy; people are restless,” he said.

Police spokesperson Judith Nabakooba confirmed the arrest and said it was in connection with the planned demonstration.

Besigye, 54, walked to church unobstructed on Sunday but his “walk to work” campaign has been roundly blocked.

Museveni has warned he will deal firmly with any unauthorised demonstrations and mocked Besigye in a press conference on Saturday.

“We made it clear to Besigye that you are not going to demonstrate or to walk. If you want to walk, go somewhere and take a walk,” Museveni said.

Ugandan police on Thursday clashed with protesters in Kampala and several other towns as Besigye appeared bent on opposing the regime.

Protesters say steep prices are due to bad governance, but Museveni, who has ruled the east African country for a quarter of a century, insisted drought and foreign factors were to blame.

“Food prices have gone up because of unreliable rain and the bigger market in the region. Will the world prices go down because Besigye has demonstrated?” he said.

The consumer price index grew by four per cent in March from the previous month and the country’s year-on-year inflation rate stands at 11.1 per cent.

Museveni argued that Besigye’s opposition campaign risked destabilising the economy further and urged Ugandans to act responsibly and use fuel sparingly

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