The wife of former Ugandan opposition presidential candidate Dr. Kizza Besigye has called on government to immediately and unconditionally release him.
Besigye was arrested Wednesday in Kampala after taking oath as a people’s president and detained at Moroto police station.
His wife Winnie Byanyima who has been in Kigali Rwanda attending the World Economic Forum first tasked the police chief Kale Kayihura to disclose where exactly Besigye was being held.
She also demanded to know what charges were being brought against him.
Winnie told Voice of America that she was concerned about her husband’s health and the lack of information about his whereabouts.
“I’m demanding to know where he is being held so the family can check on him and his lawyers can check on him. I’m also demanding for his immediate release because he has committed no crime,” she said.
Winnie said Besigye has been suffering from chest infection since they injected teargas and pepper spray into the car that he was in a couple weeks ago when he was arrested.
“He hasn’t been well, and I’m now concerned that he has disappeared.”
Byanyima who confirmed seeing a video of Besigye’s inauguration as a people’s president said he had not committed any crime and should not have been arrested.
“It was not a crime that he stood in the election; it was not a crime that he won that election; and it’s not a crime that he should go among his supporters and be seen in the city like any other citizen,” she told VOA.
Kayihura on the other hand defended the government’s policy of containment of Besigye, denying he was being partisan.
“The police do not act on the basis of politics, let alone partisan politics. Police operate on the basis if there is an indication that somebody is about to commit an offense or has committed an offense obviously the police will be interested,” Kayihura told VOA.
Winnie dismissed Kayihura’s comments as “rubbish and total nonsense” saying Besigye was a Ugandan and enjoys the same rights as every other Ugandan to move freely in the country, to go wherever he wants, to meet, and to even call a meeting.
“My message to President Museveni is to step back and reflect. He may go to his coronation but this will not take away the fact that it was a discredited election and that Ugandans are rejecting the results and that he needs to step back and find a resolution to this challenge that the country faces.”
She also urged government to end its blocking of social media in Uganda.
Meanwhile, FDC said in a statement Thursday that if Museveni intended to step down at the end of his term, he would be building bridges than forcing himself on the population.
“What we are seeing in Uganda is not about Kizza Besigye it is about the millions of people who voted him.”
It added: “We have some one who has been ruling since 1986 and he wants to go on and on, he is using instruments to cling on to power.”