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Kizza Besigye finally freed from House Arrest at his home

Former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) Presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye who has been under house arrest at his Kasangati home since February 18th 2016 has been freed. Police chief Kale Kayihura has ordered withdraw of Police that had been deployed at the home of former President Yoweri Museveni’s personal doctor for close to 40 days. The withdraw of Police comes a day after Supreme Court ruled the election petition in favour of President Yoweri Museveni. Below is the Police statement in regard to the matter;

FDC women league at Besigye's home where he has been held for close to 40 days
FDC women league at Besigye’s home where he has been held for close to 40 days

Press Statement; This statement is to inform the public on the steps we are taking in relation to the current situation of Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye.  To begin with, the decision and pronouncement by the Supreme Court, yesterday, Thursday, 31st March 2016, on the 2016 Presidential elections, following a petition by Hon Amama Mbabazi, brings to conclusion the constitutional process relating to the Presidential elections.  Since the matter is now settled, the Police, accordingly, find this an appropriate time to withdraw the security measures that we were forced to take with respect to Rtd Col Dr Kizza Besigye.  To remind the public, the measures we took were to closely monitor, and regulate his movements, and those that accessed his residence.  We, however, must stress that Rtd Col Kizza Besigye is not, and has not been under house arrest.  We had to take the security measures as a precaution because of the reasons below.

First, he attempted to subvert the constitutional electoral process by attempting to announce own results.  Note that it is only the Electoral Commission that has the mandate under the Constitution to declare election results.  Fortunately, Police succeeded to stop him from doing so at the FDC offices in Najjanankumbi on the 19th February 2016, after a timely tip off.

Second, we were concerned about the security of people and property, especially in the City following inflammatory statements and messages of incitement to the youth (that had the potential to lead to violence) communicated through the media on Sunday, the 21st February 2016, by Rtd Col Kizza Besigye, calling on his supporters to move with him the next day, Monday, 22nd February 2016 to demand for his results.  Clearly, this was a pretext because it did not need a procession to get the results.  Moreover, this was intended to be a procession, and had to be regulated by the Public Order Management Act, which specifically requires an organizer to give the Police notification of not less than three days before such an event takes place.  In this case, Rtd Col Kizza Besigye not only did he not notify the Police, he was acting in complete disregard of the law.    Moreover, we had reason to be apprehensive given that Rtd Col Kizza Besigye moves with indisciplined and violent youth, who, on the 15th and 16th February 2016 attacked innocent people, blocked roads in Wandegeya and Nakawa respectively.  We should, also, remember what happened following the 2011 elections, during the so-called “Walk to Work” in which gangs of youth attacked motorists asking them where they got fuel to drive, burning tyres on roads, as well as damaging people’s property.

Third, we, also, have responsibility to ensure that normal business life in the City and the rest of the country, is not disturbed, (as has happened in the past) by the unlawful actions of Rtd Col Kizza Besigye.  Had Rtd Col Kizza Besigye succeeded in his plans, there is no question that there would have been substantial disruption of business life and, even, day-to-day normal life of members of the public.

In spite of the abovementioned concerns, however, as we have stated above, since the constitutional process relating to the 2016 Presidential elections is complete, and we expect all persons in Uganda, including Rtd Col Kizza Besigye, to respect the decision of the Supreme Court, we are withdrawing the precautionary security measures we had been forced to take with respect to Rtd Col Kizza Besigye.

But since he has not retracted his statements of defiance, and incitement to violence, we shall continue to watch his conduct, and, also, maintain general vigilance to ensure that persons and property are not put in danger.  In the event that he does anything that violates the Public Order Management Act or any other law, or in any way threatens public security and peace, Government will have no option but to take appropriate measures to counter him.

Gen Kale Kayihura

Inspector General of Police

1st April, 2016

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