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Literary Openings, Gadgets and News in Nigeria | Duketundesblog: Uganda: Police arrest two opposition leaders

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Uganda: Police arrest two opposition leaders

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
Ugandan police arrested two top opposition leaders on Thursday, as President Yoweri Museveni sought to thwart to a fresh challenge to his long-entrenched leadership.
The arrest of former prime minister Amama Mbabazi and Kizza Besigye comes amid protests in Burundi, Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of the Congo against their long-serving leaders, which suggest it may not be easy for Mr. Museveni to keep his increasingly young voting bloc in check.
“Protest movements have now found their roots in a youth frustrated by poverty, a dearth of economic opportunities, social restrictions and a lack of political accountability,” said Ronak Gopaldas, head of country risk analysis at South Africa’s Rand Merchant Bank.
Mr. Mbabazi was detained at a roadblock 40 miles east of Kampala while traveling to what would have been his first public rally since announcing last month that he would challenge the four-term president in elections scheduled for next year.

“He has been charged with disobeying lawful orders because he defied a police directive to drive back to Kampala” said Josephine Mayanja, Mr. Mbabazi’s spokeswoman.
Police spokesman Fred Enanga said Mr. Mbabazi hadn’t been cleared by his party—the National Resistance Movement—to hold rallies, but Mr. Mbabazi said he doesn’t need party clearance. “These meetings are illegal and we strongly advise the public to ignore them,” Mr. Enanga said.
Dozens of Mr. Mbabazi’s supporters were also arrested as they prepared for the rally in the coffee-producing hub of Mbale in Eastern Uganda. Since Mr. Mbabazi announced last month that he would try to deny Mr. Museveni a fifth term, scores of his supporters have been detained, and many remain in custody.
Police said Mr. Besigye was also arrested Thursday as he left his home to attend a separate meeting with his supporters in Kampala. Mr. Besigye belongs to the Forum for Democratic Change.
Mr. Museveni, in power since 1986, has described the defection of his longtime ally Mr. Mbabazi as “wrong.”
“Our method of work doesn't involve that kind of conduct,” said the 70-year old, who seized power in a 1986 coup.
Mr. Museveni’s supporters say he is a steady hand who can protect their country from the chaos that has overwhelmed neighbors like the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan. Backers of Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame use a similar argument in lobbying for their long-serving leader to amend the constitution so that he too can seek another term in 2017.
Mr. Museveni’s road to re-election in February 2016 will offer the latest test of whether Africans are growing tired of heavy handed leaders who hold on to office for decades.
“Good leaders don’t die in power,” Mr. Mbabazi said this week.

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