Kampala: Uganda police arrested on Friday an outspoken general believed to be planning to run in presidential elections, and who recently returned to the country after 18 months in self-imposed exile.
David Sejusa was arrested for unlawful assembly after motorbike taxi drivers spotted the general in his car and followed him in the centre of the capital Kampala, his lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi told AFP.
Sejusa, also known as Tinyefuza, was once one of Uganda`s top military bosses, serving as intelligence chief and as a close advisor to President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.
“The boda-boda cyclists (motorbike taxis) were shouting at him in excitement,” lawyer Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi said. “The police decided to arrest and detain him for inciting the public.”
But police spokesman Fred Enanga said Sejusa and nine others had been arrested for holding an illegal assembly and participating in an illegal procession.
“In addition to having some youth activists with him, he started rallying a number of boda-boda riders to hold a procession with him in the middle of town,” said Enanga. “When the procession entered the main highway, it built up and police intercepted him.”
Sejusa, who has emerged as a potential challenger to the veteran leader, was placed under house arrest in January after he returned to Uganda following time in Britain.
He left the country in 2013, after a confidential memo he wrote was leaked to the press, causing a political storm. The memo claimed Museveni was grooming his son, special forces commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to succeed him and that those in the army opposed to the supposed succession plan risked being assassinated.
While in exile in Britain, General Sejusa formed the Freedom and Unity Front Party, marking himself as a direct challenger to Museveni.
Meanwhile at least 30 supporters of sacked prime minister Amama Mbabazi have been arrested across Uganda since Monday, after Mbabazi announced he would seek the presidency next year, according to the Daily Monitor.
Police said they broke electoral laws when they were allegedly discovered distributing campaign posters and T-shirts, the newspaper said.
Museveni, aged 70, has already been given the green light as the candidate for the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) by the party`s top body.