Uganda’s government risked spurring further opposition protests on Tuesday by signaling it would bring charges against a former presidential candidate at the heart of violent unrest in 2011.
Kizza Besigye, who has lost to President Yoweri Museveni in three elections, led protests after the last presidential poll in early 2011 which were fuelled by alleged vote-rigging, corruption and high commodity prices.
He has since been arrested several times at public rallies and although he stepped down last year as leader of Uganda’s biggest opposition party, Forum for Democratic Change, police have kept him under close scrutiny.
Besigye was arrested along with Kampala mayor Erias Lukwago on Tuesday evening as he addressed supporters in the capital.
“He’s still with us and we’re preparing charges related to inciting violence,” police spokesman Ibn Ssekumbi said on Wednesday. “We’ll take him to court any time from now.”
Police said Lukwago would also be charged with inciting violence.
Besigye and other opposition figures has said he intends to speak at rallies in support of Lukwago after a judicial tribunal declared him incompetent and recommended that he be impeached.
The tribunal, which was appointed by a minister, has been widely criticized by the media as partisan and aimed at thwarting opposition influence in Kampala’s administration.