Ugandan Police Arrest Opposition Leader Besigye

Police in Uganda arrested opposition leader Kizza Besigye again Monday, days after he lost a presidential election he says was fraudulent.

Besigye had planned to go Monday to the headquarters of the electoral commission in the capital, Kampala, to collect evidence as he weighs whether to file a legal challenge. Authorities also raided his party’s headquarters and seized data that party officials used for their own tally of the votes.

Besigye was arrested multiple times in the past week, and throughout the lead-up to Thursday’s election that gave President Yoweri Museveni another term in office.

Police put Besigye under house arrest Friday and said the move was meant to stop him from leading protests against Museveni’s win that could turn violent. The opposition leader responded by urging his supporters to protest his detention and the election results.

Election results, fraud allegations

Official results gave Museveni about 61 percent of the vote compared to 35 percent for Besigye. The president has ruled Uganda since taking power in a 1986 coup.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo said in a statement Monday that authorities should remove any restrictions on political leaders’ movements. He did not mention Besigye by name, but also urged the government and opposition parties to engage in dialogue and exercise restraint.

Obasanjo led the Commonwealth Observer Group, which said the election lacked a level playing field, featured allegations of misuses of state resources and raised questions about ballot secrecy.

The European Union’s election observer mission released a statement saying the ruling NRM party’s domination of the political landscape “distorted the fairness of the campaign and state actors created an intimidating atmosphere for both voters and candidates” on election day and the days following.

In a statement Saturday, U.S. State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said that while the elections had been peaceful, their conduct was “deeply inconsistent with international standards and expectations for any democratic process.”

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