Ugandan opposition leader released on bail
Besigye (60), the leader of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party, was arrested in May after he staged a mock swearing in ceremony for himself protesting against President Yoweri Museveni’s controversial re-election early this year. He claimed he was the legitimate winner of the February elections.
I am happy because my president has been released
High Court judge Wilson Masulu granted Museveni’s perennial rival 100 million shillings bail and ordered him to report to the court at least twice a month. The judge said he considered Besigye’s age when granting him bail.
Prosecutor Florence Akello had asked for tough measures to be imposed on Besigye and his sureties in case bail was granted.
The FDC leader was being held at the Luzira maximum prison on the outskirts of Kampala. Masalu’s ruling was greeted with jubilation by opposition supporters.
“I am happy because my president has been released,” shouted Bob Kato, a public transport operator in Kampala.
Besigye, who has lost numerous elections against Museveni, has been arrested several times for leading protests against the Ugandan strongman.
The opposition accuses Museveni of routinely rigging elections, including the latest presidential poll whose outcome was rejected by Besigye and his supporters as a farce.
Several FDC leaders were detained or put under house arrest after the February 18 elections. Museveni has been Uganda’s president since January 1986.