Ugandan opposition politician Kizza Besigye out on bail
A veteran Uganda opposition figure was released on Monday after a court slashed his cash bail that forced him to spend nearly two weeks in custody, his lawyer and an aide said.
Kizza Besigye had been charged on May 25 with inciting violence after being detained a day earlier in the capital Kampala as he rallied supporters to protest against soaring commodity prices.
After he was charged he was granted bail, but on condition that he paid 30 million shillings ($8,000 of it in cash, which his lawyer protested as “outrageous.”
Besigye refused to pay and instead chose to go to jail. His lawyers subsequently lodged an appeal in the high court to have the amount reduced.
On Monday, a judge slashed the bail money to just 3 million shillings, which Besigye paid.
“We do appreciate what the court has decided, bringing it (bail cash down. … It is a significant reduction,” Besigye’s lawyer Erias Lukwago told reporters after the ruling. His client was preparing to pay the money so he could be released, Lukwago added.
Hours after the judge’s ruling, Ronald Muhinda, Besigye’s aide, tweeted that he had been released.
Ugandan consumers have been expressing anger about a steep surge in prices of a range of goods including fuel, cooking oil, soap, wheat and others.
Besigye has been leading opposition calls for tax cuts or other measures to limit the impact of inflation on consumers, but President Yoweri Museveni has refused relief, blaming high prices on the war in Ukraine and the Covid-19 pandemic.
He has been detained dozens of times and lost four elections to Museveni, 77. He rejected the results, saying the votes were marred by intimidation and rigging.