Dozens of military officers, including some senior ones, have been arrested over an alleged plot to overthrow long-time President Yoweri Museveni, a Ugandan military official said Sunday.
More officers are being arrested over alleged acts of subversion following the detention Saturday of a colonel with the country’s air forces, military spokesman Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda told The Associated Press.
Ankunda said the officers have suspected links to an opposition lawmaker, Michael Kabaziguruka, who is being questioned by the police over similar allegations.
Kabaziguruka is a close ally of opposition leader Kizza Besigye, who was charged with treason following a disputed presidential election in February. Besigye refused to accept the official results that gave victory to Museveni. Besigye claimed that he had won the election. Election observers said the polls were marred by many irregularities.
Museveni has held power here since 1986, when he seized authority at the end of a guerrilla war against an elected government. Many of his former bush-war colleagues, including Besigye, have since broken ranks with Museveni, accusing him of becoming an authoritarian ruler. Others claim that Museveni wants to rule for life or plans to have his son succeed him, charges he denies.
The charges pressed against Besigye, a four-time presidential challenger who once served in Museveni’s government, have been criticized by some as an attempt to intimidate the opposition at a time when Museveni’s popular support is waning, especially in urban areas.
Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi, a lawyer for Besigye, said the treason allegations against Kabaziguruka and the army officers are “stage-managed” in an effort to keep Besigye in jail.
“Their interest is in Besigye,” he said, referring to the state.”There is nothing treasonable he has done.”