The transfer of Uganda’s leading opposition figure Dr Kizza Besigye to Luzira Prison in Kampala to serve his remand period over treason charges has been ordered today by Moroto Chief Magistrate Charles Yeteise.
Dr Besigye was arrested by police in Kampala last Wednesday May 11 after he purportedly swore in as ‘president’, with a video clip uploaded on Youtube and other social media. On the same day he was whisked off to Moroto Police Station and later to the Moroto Government Prison, where he was detained before being produced in court under tight security on the evening Friday, May 13, at about 6.30pm.
While there police officers allegedly tried to make him sign a document with two charges; terrorism because they got 20 pangas (machetes) from Forum for Democratic Change party headquarters in Najjanankumbi and for treason because he had declared himself ‘President of Uganda’.
However, by press time today the Uganda Police was in the process of transferring the former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential aspirant using a helicopter that is expected to fly directly to Luzira in order to avert public attention and anxiety.
This development follows a request by the former presidential candidate’s lawyers for him to be held and tried in Kampala where he allegedly committed the said offences. And weighing in on the matter FDC spokesperson Mr Ibrahim Semujju Nganda said a bigger team of lawyers has been constituted to defend Dr Besigye when his court hearings start in Kampala.
In a earlier interview Police Spokesperson Polly Namaye had justified Dr Besigye’s incarceration in Moroto, saying the nature of charges against him were ‘national’ in nature, and that the FDC man could be held any where on the territory of Uganda.
Interestingly however, Dr Besigye and Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago have for the past two years been going to attend court hearings in Kabale, where they allegedly incited violence contrary to the penal code Act.
Meanwhile, reports indicate security remains tight in Moroto town, with counter terrorism police and plain-clothed security personnel patrolling the usually sleepy town.