Opposition MPs Vow to Push on With Demand for Besigye's Release

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In short
Winnie Kizza, the Leader of Opposition in parliament, said they decided to stage the protest because they wanted Museveni to know that people want Besigye out of jail.

Opposition legislators have vowed to continue pushing for the unconditional release of Dr. Kizza Besigye, the former Forum for Democratic Change - FDC party, presidential candidate. Besigye was remanded to Luzira prison on charges of treason following his arrest of May 11.

He was picked up after a video showing him taking oath of presidency went viral on social media platforms. Besigye was the first runner up in the February 18th polls. He rejected the polls results accusing Electoral Commission of robbing him of his victory and called for an independent audit of the poll results in vain.

Since his detention, opposition legislators have repeatedly called for his release whenever they get a chance to meet president, Yoweri Museveni. During the state of the nation address last week, Allan Ssewanyana, the Makindye West MP and his Kawempe South counterpart, Mubarak Munyagwa stage a mini protest to demand the release of Besigye.

However, Museveni didn't utter a word on the matter. On Wednesday, opposition legislators staged another protest during the budget reading to demand the release of Besigye. They included the Leader of the Opposition Winnie Kizza, Soroti Woman MP Agelline Osegge, Kasilo County MP Elijah Okupa, Mukono Municpality MP Betty Nambooze and Busongora County MP William Nzoghu.

The MPs stood up with placards calling for the unconditional release of Besigye, prompting Museveni to seek protection from the speaker of parliament, Rebecca Kadaga. "Stop the Impunity, Release Besigye" and "Free the People's President" read one of the placards. He later told the legislators that he had no powers to release Dr. Besigye. "I have no powers to release anybody, if the legislators don't know, it is the courts that release people", said Museveni.  

His response didn't stop the protest prompting Kadaga to draw the attention of the legislators to Rule 10 (4) of Parliament Rules of Procedure, which requires them to hear president's address to House in silence. Despite giving up on the protests, the MP vowed to push for the release of Besigye. Winnie Kizza, the Leader of Opposition in parliament, said they decided to stage the protest because they wanted Museveni to know that people want Besigye out of jail.

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Soroti Woman MP, Angelline Osegge, says they will not stop with their push for Besigye's release.
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About the author

Olive Nakatudde
Olive Nakatudde is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Nakatudde has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Nakatudde started out in journalism in 2009 with Dembe FM radio in Kampala. In 2012, Nakatudde joined Voice of Africa as a political reporter. She has been a photographer since her journalism school days at Makerere University.

Nakatudde is interested in good governance and public policy, which she reports on intensively from the Uganda Parliament. She is a keen follower of cultural affairs in Buganda Kingdom and covers the kingdom's Lukiiko (parliament). Nakatudde also reports on education and health.