Uganda: Besigye Could Be Poisoned, Says Wife Byanyima

Dr Kizza Besigye's wife, Winnie Byanyima is worried that her husband who is on remand at Luzira maximum prison could be poisoned.

Besigye was charged with treason after he allegedly swore himself as the 'People's president' and president of Uganda two weeks ago. He was first airlifted to Moroto where he was detained for some days before the state decided to transfer him to Kampala and charge him afresh in Nakawa magistrates court at the beginning of this week.

Byanyima, who visited Besigye two times this week, says she is very 'worried' of her husband's safety. She narrated that her husband told her that when he was detained in Moroto some people with masked faces attempted to get inside his room once lights were out.

She further says, that as a family, they are now all living in fear, unsure of what will happen since government has increased surveillance on their family. Byanyima says despite the fact that Besigye is in prison, security deployment at their home in Kasangati has been increased with more uniformed and non-uniformed officers deployed in the area.

"We are dealing with a regime that is acting irrationally and out of fear because in February the election that was held was rigged. A people's victory was stolen. The Constitution says that all power belongs to the people but what happened in February was a farce - a total subversion of the will of the people. We are concerned about all that illegality and sinister actions of the police and the militia who work with the police. This is a regime that has amassed weapons including poisons that can be used against opponents. The last time he was held here for treason, there were policemen and strange militia all around the prison who were not supposed to be in the prison", she says.

She says they will hold government accountable if her husband is poisoned while on remand in Luzira prison. During the hearing of his case at Nakawa court, Besigye said his life was in danger and that some strange people had appeared around his cell in Moroto at night. He was advised by court to raise his concerns with the relevant prison authorities. For his own safety, Besigye requested and was granted permission to cook for himself and two other inmates that he shares a cell with.

Uganda Prison Service spokesperson Frank Baine maintains that Besigye is fine and secure than when he was still remanded at Moroto prison because in Luzira, they almost have everything including a hospital since it is a national prison facility.

Byanyima says no matter what the state does to her husband, he is more than determined not to continue with the struggle and will not disappoint millions of Ugandans who supported him in the last elections. Besigye received 3.5 million votes against Museveni's 5.9 million votes according to results declared by the Electoral Commission.

"It is because of guilt and fear that the regime is persecuting Dr Kizza Besigye but I can assure you they will not succeed in breaking his will or breaking his resolve or even that of the Ugandans who came out in millions to support him. The actions against Dr Kizza Besigye as an individual also show the breakdown of institutions in this country. We are concerned as a family of creeping failure of state institutions to do their duty in particular, the Uganda Police Force", Byanyima said.

Besigye maintains that he won the February 18 elections and asked for an independent audit of the results. The Electoral Commission declared the incumbent President Yoweri Museveni winner with a 60.6 percent margin against seven other candidates.

Source: The Observer.