Uganda opposition leader’s ‘swearing-in’ ceremony foiled

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By Godfrey Olukya

May 4, 2016, Uganda police on Thursday foiled plans by the main opposition party, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) to ‘swear-in’ President Yoweri Museveni’s rival Kizza Besigye in the aftermath of February’s controversial elections.FDC party members wanted to ‘swear-in’ Besigye as the president of Uganda before disrupting Museveni’s own swearing-in ceremony set for May 12 in Kampala.

Museveni was declared the winner of the February 18 presidential election with over 60 percent of the vote but Besigye’s party rejected the results citing alleged fraud. Besigye got 35 percent of the votes.

FDC’s plans to hold a swearing in ceremony at a Kampala school playground was part of the party’s defiance campaign.

Police said they had foiled the event by deploying heavily around the proposed venue. Armed police also stopped Besigye from leaving his home about 15 kilometres from Kampala.

There was heavy police deployment in Kampala and other major towns with the streets of the capital being patrolled by armed military policemen and local policemen.

“We have put in place enough security measure to ensure that all Ugandans are safe and can go on with their work as usual,” police spokesperson Fred Enanga said. “I call upon all Ugandans to go on with their work because security is assured.”

On the eve of the ‘swearing-in’ Besigye wrote on Facebook that he “won the February presidential elections with 52 percent but instead Museveni was declared the winner.” He called for nationwide protests to put pressure on government to accept an international audit of the results.

Meanwhile, some leading politicians say they would mobilise to counter Besigye’s defiance campaign.

Fred Mwesigye, one of the Members of Parliament leading the anti Besigye campaign said Museveni’s fierce rival could not be allowed to defy an elected president. “We cannot keep quiet when Besigye is calling for defiance against an elected president,” he said.

Uganda Federal Alliance president Beti Kamya wrote an opinion piece in the government controlled New Vision newspaper arguing that Besigye’s claims that he won the polls were falls. “Besigye is simply engaged in propaganda as FDC did not even field candidates in most elective positions,” she wrote.

The FDC leader has tried in several polls to dislodge Museveni from power without success and accuses the Uganda strongman of manipulating elections.

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