The arrest of former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) president, Kizza Besigye and former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi are a sign of panic by President Yoweri Museveni, the Democratic Alliance (TDA) a coalition of opposition parties in Uganda has said.
Addressing the media at a joint press conference in Ntinda today, TDA contends that the arrests are proof that Museveni is using security organs to block any opposition against his aspirations to stay in power.
This morning, Mbabazi was arrested in Njeru town as he headed to Mbale to hold his first consultative meeting since he announced his bid for the presidency in June.
Besigye, on the other hand, was arrested from his home, as he headed to Kasangati town to launch his presidential bid and is being held at Nagalama Police while Amama Mbabazi is at Kira road Police.
Former Vice President, Prof. Gilbert Bukenya condemned the Museveni for using the police and other security agencies to suppress dissenting voices within what he claims is a democratic state.
“You hear the president saying all those in opposition are ‘nothing’ and can’t even compete against him. Why is he scared of us who are ‘nothing’ to go out and express ourselves to the people and the people decide who wins who doesn’t.
He must know that we are not going to allow dictatorship. He must know that the people are tired of a long-stay leader who used to tell others that you have stayed for a long time, when they haven’t even stayed for ten years”
Bukenya, once a strong critic of Mbabazi after his fall out with the ruling NRM party, notes that though he still does not like him, his rights to associate should not be curtailed.
Asuman Basalirwa, the Justice Forum president, says the police has blatantly violated the Public Order Management Act by deliberately blocking the opposition from conducting rallies to meet their supporters.
“Bad as it is, it should be respected but what we are seeing is that the Public Order Management Act is being abused. Adding “even a bad law should be respected.”