Opposition leader Kizza Besigye is scheduled to hold talks with delegates from multiple countries that have congregated in Uganda for the Inter-Parliamentary Union’s (IPU) 126th Assembly scheduled to end on April 5.
Besigye said the opposition has separately scheduled a meeting with IPU delegates who are also members of the Democratic Union of Africa (DUA) and the International Democratic Union (IDU). Besigye is the chairperson of the DUA and the vice chairperson of IDU. DUA is a working association of democratic parties in Africa and like-minded political parties of the centre and centre-right.
It is made up of 12 political parties from 11 countries in Africa, and provides a forum in which parties holding similar beliefs come together and exchange views on matters of policy and organisational interest with the goal of fortifying the promotion democracy. IDU, meanwhile, has a membership of 80 political parties from close to 60 countries the world over. Besigye said he is expected to meet delegates from these countries. Some of the IDU members are USA, Canada, China, Austria, Russia, UK, Spain and France, among others.
Besigye explained that many of the politicians attending the summit are members of several political parties that subscribe to the world body, which brings together democratic institutions that fight dictatorship and oppressive rule across the world. At the meeting, Besigye said, the opposition hopes to brief the delegates about the current state of Uganda’s democracy.
“We shall discuss with the delegates the problems we are going through and how we can help one another,” he said.
The FDC leader also revealed that the opposition will show the delegates video footage that captures how they have been tortured by the Uganda police and other security agents.
“We can’t cover up. If we cover up, we will have denied the delegates an opportunity to see firsthand the situation we are in,” Besigye stressed before adding that the opposition will continue with their civil disobedience campaigns despite the IPU meeting.
And true to his warning, Besigye together with Kawempe mayor Munyangwa Mubarak, Kampala Woman MP Nabilah Naggayi, Comedian Paddy Bitama and firebrand FDC Women’s League leader Ingrid Turinawe, staged another form of peaceful protest hours after the IPU assembly had commenced on Saturday. The leaders parked their vehicles at Luwum street and locked themselves inside.
After pleas to them to voluntarily drive their vehicles fell on deaf ears, police towed the vehicles with the leaders inside to various police stations. Besigye was towed inside his car to Kasangati police station, while Naggayi and Turinawe were towed to CPS and later Jinja road police station, where they were placed under preventive arrest.
Police chief, Lt Gen Kale Kayihura, recently said the police would not allow any demonstrations or rallies in the Kampala Metropolitan Area during the IPU assembly. Kayihura advised the opposition to carry out their demonstrations at Kololo airstrip. Previously, police blocked the opposition from holding rallies in Kololo on grounds that the playground is under management of State House.
The change of heart to grant the opposition permission to hold demonstrations in Kololo was prompted by the reasoning that street battles by protesters would disrupt traffic and activities of IPU. Undeterred, the opposition has indicated that it will unleash a multitude of demonstrations. Already, a rally to mark the International Day against Police Brutality Day on Tuesday (April 3) has been arranged.
Although the day is marked on March 15 annually, the Activists for Change (A4C) have decided to commemorate it on April 3 to coincide with the IPU meeting. According to A4C coordinator, Mathias Mpuuga (Masaka municipality MP), tomorrow’s rally will set out to highlight the highhandedness of the Uganda police force in quelling peaceful protests. Mpuuga says A4C won’t heed Speaker Rebecca Kadaga’s call to suspend their activities until the IPU activities are concluded.
“This is the only opportunity for Kahiyura and his force to explain to Ugandans and the international community his brutal actions against citizens,” Mpuuga reasoned.