Ugandan Opposition Rejects Talks With Government on Accelerating Inflation

Posted May 3, 2011 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Economy ~ 2,290 views


By Fred Ojambo | Bloomberg | Uganda’s main opposition group said it won’t take part in talks with the government scheduled for today over accelerating inflation until the authorities apologize for the arrest of one of its leaders and key officials resign.

Opponents of President Yoweri Museveni want the state to apologize for the “brutal manner” in which Kizza Besigye, leader of the Forum for Democratic Change was tortured and arrested last week before it begins talks, John Ken Lukyamuzi, the chairman of a group of four opposition parties known as the Inter-Party Coalition, said by phone from the capital, Kampala.

Besigye led a so-called walk-to-work campaign last month to protest at surging prices for foods and gasoline. Inflation accelerated to 14.1 percent in April, from 11.1 percent in March, as food costs jumped 31 percent, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics said on April 29.

Besigye was arrested on April 28. Video footage broadcast last week by NTV Kenya, a closely held television company, showed plainclothes policemen breaking the window of his car with a hammer, spraying pepper spray at Besigye while he was in his vehicle and then bundling him into the back of a pickup truck. Besigye was hospitalized in neighboring Kenya for treatment of injuries suffered during his arrest, according to his party.

Museveni Meeting

Last week, the Daily Monitor, a Kampala-based newspaper, said Museveni would meet opposition leaders today to discuss the rising cost of living.

“The president should apologize to the public about the manner Dr. Besigye was arrested,” Lukyamuzi said. “We also demand that the state drop all charges against arrested protesters and for those responsible for the harassment to resign.”

Internal Affairs Minister Kirunda Kivejinja, the police chief Kale Kayihura and police commanders involved in “harassment of the opposition” should resign as additional conditions for the talks, which should be chaired by a “neutral” person, he said.

Uganda, with a population of more than 30 million, is Africa’s largest producer of robusta coffee.

To contact the reporter on this story: Fred Ojambo in Kampala at

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