Opposition strongman Kizza Besigye has today had a hustle-free reign in town as he left court, where he had gone to fulfil his bail obligations.
The former Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate, who is facing treason charges, was earlier this month given a Shs100 million non-cash bail by High Court judge Wilson Masalu Musene and ordered to report to the Registrar of the court once every two weeks, starting July 26. Dramatically, when he obliged today, he was told the Registrar, Mary Eleanor Khainza, was away attending a conference in Entebbe. He was then told to report back to court on August 9.
Then, followed by a procession of chanting supporters and his two lawyers, Ernest Kalibala and Frederick Mpanga, Dr Besigye made his way through the City Center. However, this time there was no heavy security deployment and blocking of roads as is usually done, with observers saying that the development was prompted by the police’s condemnation by Parliament and the civil society for brutalising opposition supporters.
Yesterday, a case of disobeying lawful order against Dr Besigye and Kampala City Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago was dismissed by Makindye court, only for the opposition figure to be arrested and detained at Jinja Road Police station, from where he was set free at 9pm.
It is just one of many cases he is facing in different courts since he challenged long-serving President Yoweri Museveni in February’s disputed election.
The most serious charge – that of treason – has not yet been dropped.
It was brought after Mr Besigye rejected Mr Museveni’s victory as a sham, and said he was the democratically elected president.
Mr Besigye is currently out on bail, and says he will also be cleared of the treason charge.