28 March 2016

Uganda: Police Block Clerics From Accessing Besigye's Home

Photo: Courtesy Photo/File
Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president Kizza Besigye.

Kampala — Police on Easter Monday morning intercepted two mini- busses carrying a group of 72 people from Rukungiri District who were headed to former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Kizza Besigye's residence at Kasangati, in Wakiso District.

The group led by Rukungiri Municipality MP Roland Mugume, composed of over 30 youth, two Anglican Church Reverends and others said they had come to conduct prayers with Dr Besigye since he had been blocked by the same police to go to church on Easter Sunday.

The two Anglican Reverends, Retired Reverend Canon Charles Bamushangire and Reverend Canon Kahangirwe, refused to speak to media citing fatigue after an over seven hour journey from Rukungiri District.

"These people are mostly relatives, friends and some Reverends who also wanted to check on Dr Besigye because they had not seen him since the recent elections yet they voted for him," the visibly angry Mr Mugumya said.

The anti-riot police, commanded by Residence Police Commander Kampala North (RPC) Wesley Nganizi intercepted the group at one of the road blocks in Luteete, on Gayaza road, a few kilometers to Dr Besigye's home.

An argument then ensued for about two hours before the police yielded to pressure by the group and allowed only 30 people who were all youth to proceed and meet Dr Besigye after which the elders would also meet him (Besigye).

The Youth were however were again blocked at the second road block near Besigye's residence and forced to drive back amid endless phone calls by the police officers who seemed to be making consultations from their commanders.

Hours after the two parties had failed to reach a concrete agreement; violence ensued when the residents in Luteete attempted to demonstrate against police action, setting car tyres on fire in the middle of the road and distracting traffic flow.

But police moved swiftly to quell the rioters and forced the group to drive back to Kampala.

Mr Fred Karamuzi, an FDC supporter who was part of the group said they had carried along food stuff which included bananas and chicken to donate to Dr Besigye, despite the earlier interception by police in Ntugamo which had seen two of their goats impounded.

'The police first intercepted us at 3am in Ntungamo when we had just started our journey. One of our colleague was also detained because they wanted him to first make a statement on our behalf," Mr Karamuzi said.

Several FDC sympathizers, and others religious leaders have flocked Dr Besigye's home since his incarceration on February 18. Among them was a delegation from the European Union and the USA mission who paid him a courtesy visit last months.

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