By James Butty*
Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye is urging the country’s diaspora to continue to push for democracy in Uganda.
“I think that they have two or three roles. One is to continue their engagement with the governments of the countries where they stay and indeed to solicit their support in their engagement with the regime at home, and also their engagement with those of us who are challenging the status quo,” Besigye told VOA Daybreak Africa by phone while on a visit to Britain, where he will meet members of the diaspora.
He travels later this month to the United States.
Besigye was released on bail in July after months of detention and house arrest following the February presidential poll. He came in second in the vote. The opposition said there were voting irregularities, and Besigye called for an independent audit of results. He later declared himself president and was charged with treason.
The poll saw longtime president Yoweri Museveni win a fifth term in office.
The government has repeatedly accused Besigye and the opposition of trying to destabilize the country, something Besigye denies.
“Our struggle is in fact very, very clearly a nonviolent struggle,” Besigye said.
In the run up to the poll, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International expressed concern about police brutality, restrictions on the right to assemble and arrests of opposition leaders.
A group of private lawyers has brought suit against Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura and seven of his commanders for alleged police brutality against Besigye supporters in July.