Rtd. Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye has finally regained his freedom after spending almost the entire day in police custody.
Police arrested the former opposition political party head Monday morning and detained him in a police van to stop him from entering the city center to protest skyrocketing commodity prices.
They held him in the mobile police cells until later in the evening when they chose to release him.
Besigye declined to disembark from the police van prompting the officers to drag him out.
“Am not leaving,” Dr. Besigye could be heard telling a police officer identified as Albert Muhumuza who was pushing him from the van. At this moment, police officers tried to block journalists from capturing the scene as they pushed them back towards Besigye’s residence.
This is my property, you can’t push people like that on my property,” Besigye shouted at the officers prompting them to pull back. In the past, whenever Besigye would try to lead a procession from his Kasangati residence in Wakiso district or in Kampala city, police officers could bundle him in awaiting van and whisk him off to Nagalama police station.
Occasionally, police could put Besigye under preventative arrest and drop him at his home deep in the night after releasing him on police bond.
In other instances, they could place him under preventive arrest at his home just like they did when the four-time presidential candidate first attempted to stage protests against uncontrolled commodity prices.
Last week, opposition leaders reminded police of the court decision, which declared the police decision to hold Besigye under preventive arrest in his home illegal.
Besigye had spent six days under preventive arrest. Police now seem to have changed tactics.
Police have given up on using what they termed as reasonable force while quelling protests.
Last week, police commanders desisted from firing teargas or beating people even when provoked by the protesters who lit bonfires in the middle of the Busy-Kampala- Gayaza road.
Additionally, police didn’t attempt to drag Besigye from his vehicle partly because it was covered with wire mesh.
The Kampala North Region Police Commander, Peter Nkulegga also stopped his juniors from towing Besigye’s vehicle.
As a result, Besigye spent over eight hours inside his vehicle until the evening when police officers removed the spikes and patrol vehicles they had used to block the vehicle.
On Monday, police used similar tactics to foil the planned protests by Besigye.
Police blocked the narrow road leading to Besigye’s residence.
When he tried to move on foot, the officers grabbed him and placed him in the police van.
By the time of filing this story, Besigye had refused to return to his home and remained seated in his wire mesh sealed vehicle insisting that he was moving to town as earlier planned.