The 50th Arrest; Part III

Besigye’s home in Kasangati sat on about two acres. It was shrouded in leafy gardens that sprouted out of a neat grass compound. Orange and guava trees shyly peered out of the far end of it.

A brown dirt road that cut through farms branched off the Kasangati road to his home.

The police throughout the electoral announcement period occasionally blocked the road, about two meters wide. A truck with eight policemen would be driven and parked at the branch off point. Two barricades were thrown in its middle and at the towering gate that led to the house.

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Shortly after his arrest in town, Besigye would be driven to Kiira road police and detained for about 15 minutes.

In that time, angry supporters would gather around the stations and sing songs of freedom demanding that he be released.

Screen Shot 2016-06-01 at 12.28.07 PM
Military police aim guns at protesters in Wandegeya on the day of the arrest. AFP/GETTY image

 

At Kiira road, the supporters occupied the island in between the roads and would pour out onto the road blocking traffic in turns.

Their pressure yielded. In a few minutes, a black police pickup pulled up to the entrance of the police station. Besigye and Nabillah would quickly be smuggled in and driven at a fast pace.

Our driver, Tumukunde, had parked above the station and only waited on us to hop in before he sped off behind the truck.

On many bends and turns on the speedy chase of the police van, we encountered hordes of motorcycle riders that were on hand to point to where the pickup truck had turned off to. Behind us trailed a string of news cars that were cushioned on the sides with chanting supporters clung onto motorcycles.

Tumukunde brought the car to a screeching halt as police had sealed off the road to Besigye’s home only allowing the truck carrying him and three other opposition leaders into the compound.

The games began.

A cop approached our car. “You’re the people of NTV?” he mused. With the bright logo flashed outside the Suzuki, it was certainly not hard to identify us, infact you needed not to ask.

I started clutching off my bulletproof vest to respond to his question.

“Yes, that would be us” I responded.

He briefly gestured away from our car to the officers at the gate and they started advancing towards our car. I asked him whether he was going to place us under arrest and whether we’d committed a crime. He still kept a brief silence.

We were ushered into the home that hid behind black gate bars and searched by Besigye’ guard before joining three other international media colleagues.

From a table on the verandah of his home, Besigye looked drenched, his blue shirt had marks of dirt at its hem, to his shoulder and the arms. He sat in silence, staring into the compound, seemingly meditating.

Kato, the driver, pulled seats for us and a small presser materialised.

“I am going to return to town for my campaigns” Besigye stated in an authoritative voice.

He stood from his chair, walked past us and sat in his car.

Kato revved the engine and certainly, in my mind, I pictured what was going to be a longer day.

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