Ugandan opposition leader arrested again

23 February 2016 - 02:35 By Reuters

Police arrested Uganda's main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, for the fourth time in eight days yesterday, after an election that the US and EU have criticised and the opposition have rejected as fraudulent. Police also stormed Besigye's Forum for Democratic Change 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 February 18 vote.The EU observer mission said the vote had been conducted in an "intimidating" atmosphere and the US 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 Forum for Democratic Change official, said Besigye was attempting to gather evidence as part of his challenge of the election result.A second 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.On Friday US Secretary of State John Kerry called Museveni to voice concerns over the harassment of opposition figures and the shutdown of social media in Uganda, where Facebook, Twitter and WhatsApp were blocked on election day.Museveni said he told Kerry "not to worry" about Uganda's election and dismissed EU accusations that the electoral commission had favoured him and his National Resistance Movement."I told those Europeans ... I don't need lectures from anybody," Museveni told reporters in his country home in Kiruhura.Museveni last clashed with Western donors in 2014, when Uganda passed a law that imposed harsh penalties on homosexuality.In response, donors cut aid, but largely restored it later when the law was repealed by a Ugandan court. ..

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