Uganda arrests opposition figure who calls for protest against prices

KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan opposition figure calling for street protests against rising commodity prices is being detained at his home by police.

Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, has been unable to leave his home outside the capital, Kampala, since May 12 as police set up a camp nearby to enforce his apparent house arrest. Ugandan police routinely detain opposition figures inside their homes, insisting they can impose pre-emptive arrests to keep…

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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) — A Ugandan opposition figure calling for street protests against rising commodity prices is being detained at his home by police.

Kizza Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, has been unable to leave his home outside the capital, Kampala, since May 12 as police set up a camp nearby to enforce his apparent house arrest. Ugandan police routinely detain opposition figures inside their homes, insisting they can impose pre-emptive arrests to maintain public order.

Besigye’s detention follows his call for Ugandans to “wake up” and protest against rising commodity prices that the government attributes mainly to the war in Ukraine, a major supplier of grains and edible oils.

Besigye is a serial campaigner against the government of longtime President Yoweri Museveni. His “Walk to Work” protest movement after the 2011 presidential election – also sparked by commodity price inflation – was violently halted within months.

Besigye’s current stay-at-home order has drawn ire from his supporters, and campaigners and others are increasingly calling on the government to intervene, perhaps by scrapping taxes on everything from cooking oil to gas.

But authorities are ruling it out and urging people to tighten their belts.

Museveni, an authoritarian in power since 1986, told Ugandans in a recent speech to replace cassava with bread, saying the widely grown tuber is a healthy alternative. This drew the scorn of many.

“Produce more, if you can. We should also use these imported items sparingly or find alternatives,” Museveni said in a speech on Sunday.

Museveni, once hailed as part of a new generation of African leaders and a longtime security ally of the United States, still enjoys the support of many Ugandans in bringing relative stability to the East African country. East.

But Museveni’s critics say he is increasingly dependent on the security forces to stay in power. The United States and others have recently sounded the alarm over torture allegedly carried out by security agents who are also accused of disappearing opposition supporters.

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