Uganda: Besigye Blames House Arrest for 'Losing' 2016 Presidential Petition

Besigye talks to the press.
24 May 2023
Nile Post News (Kampala)

Dr. Kizza Besigye has said he would have become the president of Uganda by now had police not kept him under house arrest deterring his movements to legally challenge the election of President Museveni.

The four time presidential candidate made the remarks as he on Monday appeared before the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) Tribunal over the alleged violation of his rights during the 2016 elections.

The former leader of the Forum of Democratic Change (FDC) filed the petition seven years ago challenging his continuous house arrests after the 2016 general election.

The tribunal panel of three commissioners was chaired by the commission chairperson Mariam Wangadya.

In February 2016, police led by then-AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi stormed the FDC party headquarters in Najjanankumbi and arrested Besigye who stood as FDC presidential candidate.

Other three senior party officials including the then party president Mugisha Muntu, Ingrid Turinawe, and Wasswa Birigwa were also apprehended by police at that time.

He said that the four were then bundled into a waiting police van and driven to Nagalama police station where they were jailed.

Besigye was later confined in his home and this; he said denied him a chance to challenge President Museveni's victory, the reason why he cannot recognise his presidency.

"I still have evidence with me that I defeated President Museveni in the 2016 presidential election," Besigye told the commission.

He stated that he was treated badly and charged but was not given the opportunity to defend himself or be convicted.

Besigye said that even up to now he cannot enjoy his rights to free movement and assembly, asking for tough penalties against his tormentors and other human rights violators.

"From the time I came from Naggalama, the whole place was surrounded, so they were there all the time. I declare that all these acts violated our rights up to now. This was seven years ago but the treatment I face has not changed," he told the commission.

He sought compensation from the government for the continued alleged violation of his rights which include torture among others.

"I should be compensated for the kind of torture and suffering that has been (afflicted) on me. Loss of work and all that time when I can't leave my house and I had no way of fending for myself and my dear ones," he said.

Besigye explained to the commission that security forces also surrounded his home and raided the party's main office in Kampala.

"I was beaten and my figure has become lame and I can hold anything using this figure. All the human rights violators should be brought to book individually those who are still alive and I know there are those who are. One of the commissioners, Semeo Nsubuga, was in police at that time when we were being tortured," said Besigye.

Muntu and Turinawe also told the commission how police arrested and tortured them while at the party office. Besigye expressed his disappointment that the commission took so long to hear his case.

But the commissioner chairperson Wangadya apologised for the delay, adding that the commission took did not have a chairperson for two years.

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