Police arrested Uganda’s main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, for the fourth time in eight days on Monday, after an election that the United States and European Union have criticised and the opposition reject as fraudulent. Police also stormed Besigye’s Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party headquarters and arrested eight people, one member said, two days after President Yoweri Museveni, 71 and in power for 30 years, was declared the winner of the Feb. 18 vote. The EU observer mission said the vote had been conducted in an “intimidating” atmosphere and United States has voiced concerns about the frequent arrests of Besigye. Police said they detained Besigye as he was preparing to lead supporters to the Electoral Commission headquarters in the capital Kampala to collect the official results, and that he had not obtained government consent. “We have arrested people who are planning to cause violence in Kampala city centre,” police spokesman, Patrick Onyango, said.
But Ingrid Turinawe, a senior FDC official, said Besigye was attempting to gather evidence as part of his challenging of the election result. A second FDC official said that police had raided party headquarters, confiscating documents and arresting eight people.
Museveni has presided over strong economic growth but is accused at home and abroad of repression of dissent and failing to tackle rampant corruption. Critics say he wants to rule for life, emulating other African leaders who refuse to give up power.