It appears that Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been arrested for a third time since Thursday (18 February) after having been under house arrest since Saturday night (20 January).
Besigye had vowed to march to the Electoral Commission (EC) headquarters on Monday (22 February) morning to ask for a copy of the declaration of the results from Thursday's general elections, in which President Yoweri Museveni won a fifth term in office. The leader was first arrested on Election Day on 18 February 'for trespassing on a military installation', and again on 19 February after riot police sealed off the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) 's tally centre.
Arrest ahead of planned march
According to eyewitnesses, the party leader was bundled into a van outside his home in Kasangati by police on Monday (22 February) as his supporters planned the march to protest against the results of a presidential election. His lawyer has confirmed his arrest.
There are reports of heavy police presence at Besigye's home and at the EC headquarters.
His home was surrounded by police throughout the weekend, according to BBC, after he was placed under house arrest on Saturday, shortly before the election results were announced.
On Sunday, Besigye thanked voters for fulfilling their civic duty by voting for change. "Your enthusiastic participation in the stolen 2016 elections demonstrates that you wanted to change the politics of this country and secure your future through the ballot box; only to be frustrated by partisan security agencies and an incompetent electoral commission," he wrote on Facebook.
He claimed the electoral process was "rigged" using intimidation of voters, imprisonment of opponents, sabotage of rallies, late delivery of election materials, delayed opening of election centers, vote falsification at undisclosed tally centres and bribery, among other malpractices.
"But do not be discouraged – the struggle for a democratic dispensation did not start and end on Election Day and the electoral process itself did not end with the announcement of doctored results. Therefore, do not surrender," he said. "Uganda's future, your future is in your hands. Remain firm. We can make this country work for each and everyone of us. But you must assert yourselves and claim your future. There is no other person who will do it for us."
10 days to challenge elections outcome
Besigye claimed there is no winner in the election, and that the election process "has not ended". The law gives citizens 10 days after the announcement of results to challenge the outcome that is announced.
"As you all know, I have spent the first of those 10 days under house arrest. I am now left with nine days to exercise this right. Therefore, tomorrow I am going to the Electoral Commission to receive their results. I will then meet the campaign team and following that we will go around the country and collect all our information in order to prepare a well-considered response. This is a right we take for granted and are not asking for permission," he said, before inviting his supporters to rally behind the demand for an independent and transparent audit of the 2016 presidential election results. and join him to walk to the EC.
The march was expected to leave his home at Kasangati at 9.30am local time (6am GMT).
"Police will try to stop us, I know; but this is about claiming our rights. We will walk peacefully," he said on Sunday.