There have been many confusing reports of the order and nature of the events that took place on Thursday as Uganda’s President, Yoweri Museveni was being sworn in for his fifth term in office, having ‘beaten’ opposition Kizza Besigye at the polls.
This term will effectively cement his place as one of the elite class of African leaders who have ruled their nations for 30 years and above.
One thing in all the reports of the past week that can be surely stated is the fact that main opposition leader Kizza Besigye was arrested on Wednesday in downtown Kampala and flown to Moroto, where he has been in custody ever since and yesterday, Kizza Besigye was charged.
For those who have followed Uganda’s story post election, it will be easy to appreciate the number of times Mr. Besigye has been arrested, for everything from, driving along the streets to making speeches. Most of those arrests have however carried no charge and Mr. Besigye was simply released a while later.
It is for this reason that you should not be surprised if someone beside you sighs almost happily as they anticipate hearing the crime for which Kizza Besigye has been so heavily persecuted. Do not also be surprised when the sigh turns sad as the person gets cued into the fact that Kizza Besigye was charged with treason.
His lawyer Erias Lukwago said,
“We have been informed by police today that Besigye appeared in court in Moroto and was charged with treason”.
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Government spokesman Shaban Bantarizz attested that Besigye was arrested late yesterday and charged with treason because he had declared himself “an alternative President”. This will mark Besigye’s second charge of treason after he beat an initial charge in 2005.
The charge had been thrown out by the judge who deemed the evidence insufficient. A conviction for treason carries a death penalty in Uganda so the whole world will certainly be on alert to see the end of this case.