Dr. Kizza Besigye, has expressed his surprise at the Uganda police force's praise for his disciplined approach during his country-wide engagements, considering the years he spent facing security challenges.
In 2011, Besigye who is the leader of the People's Front for Transition was temporarily blinded after police fired pepper spray into his eyes and forcibly removed him from his car at gunpoint.
He was leading a fifth round of protests against rising food and fuel prices.
Despite being injured, he waved to cheering crowds with his left hand while his right hand was heavily bandaged from a rubber bullet incident in an earlier demonstration.
During an online engagement, Besigye stated that based on the way he has been treated by security forces in the past, it was surprising to hear the police acknowledge his discipline in their interactions.
He further mentioned that the meetings with leaders were arranged at various venues, sometimes even in individual homes.
"I always attend these meetings, engage with them, and then move on to other activities.I haven't faced any resistance from police officers in all our engagements.
I wasn't aware that the police were even aware of our activities," Besigye said.
He also expressed skepticism about the intentions behind the police spokesperson's statements, suggesting that they may be aimed at conveying a different message to President Museveni, although the truth was that he had not met with the police during their engagements.
Last week, the police commended Besigye for conducting peaceful meetings during his consultative tour in Nebbi District, where he aims to rally FDC delegates to reclaim the party's leadership from Nandala Mafabi and Patrick Oboi Amuriat.
The police acknowledged the peaceful nature of the meetings and emphasised the importance of ensuring public safety and businesses in different areas.
However, it is worth noting that last week, the police issued a directive banning National Unity Platform president Robert Kyagulanyi's ongoing mobilisation tours, accusing him of inciting violence, promoting sectarianism, making illegitimate calls for the removal of an elected government, and issuing defamatory statements against President Museveni.
In response, NUP spokesperson Joel Ssenyonyi dismissed the claims as scapegoating tactics by the government to curtail their activities.
Ssenyonyi affirmed that while NUP seeks regime change, they intend to pursue legal means to achieve it.
Previously, the police and FDC were known for their antagonistic relationship, and clashes between Besigye and the police have occurred throughout the existence of the party.
Therefore, it is an unexpected development that Besigye is now receiving praise from the police.