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Opposition to petition INT’L Aviation over Besigye arrest

Opposition MPs in parliament have instructed the shadow attorney general, Wilfred Niwagaba to petition the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) over the manner in which Dr Kizza Besigye was arrested on arrival at Entebbe airport yesterday.

Besigye, who returned to country on Monday morning was arrested by security operatives, shortly after he disembarked from a Kenya Airways flight.
The former Forum for Democratic Change leader and four-time presidential candidate was immediately driven off in a waiting vehicle to his residence in Kasangati, outside Kampala.

Kizza Besigye waving to his supporters today who gathered around Constitutional Square as he carried out transactions at Crane bank

Addressing the media at parliament today, several opposition MPs condemned the actions of the state, also turning their guns on Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for allowing the security of a passenger to be compromised by security operatives.

“Definitely, we will lodge a complaint; I mean we are not in a jungle. These gentlemen were last in the bush 30 years ago! We know they could have been there as fighters, but for us, we’ve not grown up in the bush. That is jungle law and we believe that is very fundamental and we will do the needful. We’ll raise this matter to all people concerned including those international”, said Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala county).
Yesterday, Besigye revealed that he was arrested by individuals dressed in CAA reflector jackets and driven off the runway towards the Old airport in a CAA vehicle.
Vianney Luggya, CAA deputy spokesperson, however, denied the allegations. In a phone interview, Luggya clarified that as an international requirement; any person who accesses the runway must wear a CAA-branded reflector jacket.
“While the reflector jackets are labelled with CAA, it does not imply that those adorning them are CAA staff. No staff of ours was involved in the arrest of Besigye and neither were any of our cars used,” Luggya explained on phone.

Besigye addressing journalists at the High court today. Photos: Nicholas Bamulanzeki

Kasese municipality MP Robert Centenary says Besigye’s arrest was carried out by well-trained security personnel, disguised as CAA officials to ward off suspicion from witnesses
“The way that mission was carried out on the stairs of the plane was not civil and I have not seen staff of Civil Aviation Authority go for a high-power military training. Actually it was executed in a terrorism way. An ordinary citizen cannot execute such kind of mission. Therefore it would be far-fetched to allude that actually the Civil Aviation Authority staff carried out that kind of execution”, Centenary said. 

Leader of Opposition in parliament, Winnie Kiiza says the state must respect the rights of every citizen, including Besigye, who has been continually harassed.
“His right as a citizen of the country and of course the rights of his party, the Forum for Democratic Change — a registered political party that is known in the laws of this country. That its members can be humiliated and not only members, but a presidential flag bearer who is known. He is not just a small man we want to know what happened to the state? Is this the way the way government thinks will lead the people of Uganda?”, she said.

Meanwhile, Besigye’s car was forcellu towed back to his home in Kasangati after he attempted to drive into Kampala CBD. After reporting to the High court in the morning, Besigye went to Crane bank to carry out some transactions.

For a moment, the environs of the bank along Kampala road and around Constitutional Square were swarmed with hundreds of people waiting to catch a glimpse of the former FDC presidential candidate. Besigye then drove to his Total Petrol Station in Nsambya before he attempted to drive into the city via Queens Way.

Police blocked him arguing that he would cause a security situation because of the surging crowds. He was advised to first go to FDC headquarters in Najjankumbi and come back to the city later when the crowds have left. Besigye obliged, but the crowds grew as soon he came back forcing Police to tow his car (with Besigye inside) to Kasangati.

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