A day after police unleashed extreme brutality against Rtd Col Dr Kiiza Besigye, he has vowed not to give up on the struggle to liberate Uganda.
Addressing journalists at his Katonga based offices on Tuesday; Besigye recounted how he was saved by people in his car from falling down after police sprayed a highly pressurised water cannon directly at him as he waved to supporters from the open roof of his vehicle in Kireka in Wakiso district on Monday.
The brutality meted out on Besigye has received worldwide condemnation from within Ugandan and across the borders in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa with many labeling the Uganda Police Force as barbaric, archaic bent on using colonial tactics to suppress democracy in Uganda.
Besigye had gone to Mandela national stadium where his Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party members had converged for a conference. But police blocked the conference and declared it illegal which angered the FDC supporters who decided to march to their party headquarters in Najjanankumbi along Entebbe road.
But as has become their standard operations norm, police responded with highhandedness when they flashed the water cannon directly at Besigye. They later smashed the windscreen of his vehicle using a gun and pepper-sprayed him to force him out of the vehicle.
The four-time presidential candidate said he and other forces of change will continue to fight fearlessly no matter what the government does to them. Besigye said those who will survive the brutality of the incumbent regime will live to see the fruits of their struggle while others will be remembered for their contribution to the liberation.
"If this can be done on Bobi Wine we're following if this can be done on lord mayor, then what chance do we have? What chance do we have? The intention is to cause a chill amongst the followers such that they are paralysed. That is what they go for the leadership of students at Makerere. Beat the hell out of them, torture them so that others can cringe." he said.
Besigye had just returned from abroad when he was invited to attend the FDC seminar at Namboole. He was brutally arrested and taken to Naggalama police cells and freed in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. Besigye says such attacks against opposition leaders are meant to intimidate Ugandans.
He also said the propagandists have attempted to paint him wrongly as power-hungry; only interested in the presidency of Uganda. Besigye said he's not interested in the topmost chair, and in any case, he can move and settle in any country on this planet but he would never have the same citizenship rights that he has if he remains in Uganda.
"That our struggle is for leadership, that we want to become leaders replacing Museveni. That is not the primary struggle we’re engaged in, certainly those of us in 'people’s government', certainly not myself. It is not the struggle we’re engaged in for leadership…the struggle is for citizenship because a citizen owns the country. The struggle is to have a country we call ours - a country that we own. And this is the only country we can have that right. And this is the only country we can have that kind of right. I can go and live anywhere, but I will live without citizen’s rights. The only country I can claim citizen right over is this one." he added.
For long, Besigye has been accused by some elements in the opposition and the regime sometimes as a 'selfish' politician who wants to remain the only face of the opposition in Uganda despite failing to dislodge Museveni out of power in four presidential election attempts usually marred by irregularities. Others have even labeled him as a Museveni 'mole' intended to legitimise the regime's leadership and ward off any other emerging opposition forces.
But Besigye said, he like most other Ugandans, are under captivity and they cannot forsake the role to liberate themselves. He said for Ugandans to break out of the captivity they are currently immersed in, they need to be made aware of the situation they are in such that they understand the cause of their suffering. Some people have labeled the struggle a failure already because it has not taken Museveni out of power but Besigye said the 'action part' takes the least time of any struggle.
"Action does not take a lot and not just in politics, in all struggles action is precept. We spent years in Luweero in the war of the bush, we spent there many years and I can tell you the time for action was actually very little. And people would say what they are doing now…if you listen to the bragging of those who were in government then, it is not different from the bragging that I seed now." he added.