Two members of the Ugandan opposition party Forum for Democratic Change were arrested on Wednesday on the sidelines of the treason trial of their leader Kizza Besigye in Kampala.
The trial, which was adjourned to June 15, began with a statement by the prosecutor saying the accused could not be present for safety reasons.
The court’s decision to adjourn the trial due to security reasons did not go down well with Besigye’s supporters. They booed in the courtroom and showed their dissatisfaction which ended in a prayer session. The two FDC members were arrested after they left the court room and took to the streets.
When you look at the situation in Kampala, massive deployment of forces, the military as well as the police for the last three months, how can you use security as an excuse.
“We are hostages in our own country, we are prisoners every where we go, we are tired what can we do,” said one of the supporters.
On June 15, the Judge James Ereemye Mawanda will make a decision on a request by the prosecutor, who wants the next hearings to be held in the high security Luzira Prison in Kampala, where Besigye is being held.
The president of the FDC, Mugisha Muntu described the proceedings as “absurd” alleging that the executive is manipulating the judiciary.
“When you look at the situation in Kampala, massive deployment of forces, the military as well as the police for the last three months, how can you use security as an excuse for not bringing Dr Kizza Besigye from Luzira [prison], which is about five kilometres away, to this court here in Nakawa?” said Mugisha Muntu.
Besigye’s lawyer, Erias Lukwago, claimed the court was acting on the orders of the president.
“It is a thing that was hatched somewhere and these ones were just acting. The magistrate, the prosecutor, the court orderlies, were all acting,” he said.
“That should be a decision made by none other than Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. He’s the one who made that decision. It’s very, very unfortunate,” Lukwago added.
Dr. Kizza Besigye was arrested May 11 after organizing his party for the provision of an alternative oath in which he was “inducted” president. He was charged with treason for declaring himself president.