Besigye’s detention follows his call for Ugandans to “wake up” and protest against rising commodity prices, with the government blaming the war on Ukraine, which supplies most of the grain and edible oil.
Besigie has been a staunch supporter of the government of longtime President Euveri Museveni. After the 2011 presidential election, his “walk to work” protest movement – also because of the price of inflationary goods – came to a violent end in a matter of months.
Besigay’s current house arrest has provoked outrage from his followers and there are growing calls for government intervention by workers and others, possibly removing taxes on everything from cooking oil to gas.
But authorities are dismissing it and urging people to tighten their belts.
Museveni, a dictator who has been in power since 1986, in a recent speech called on Ugandans to replace cassava for bread, saying widely cultivated root tubers are a healthier alternative. Which has been reprimanded by many.
“Produce more if you can. We should also use these imported items sparingly or find alternatives, “Museveni said in a statement on Sunday.
Museveni, once acclaimed as part of a new generation of African leaders and a longtime U.S. security ally, still has much Ugandan support for bringing relative stability to the East African country.
But critics of Museveni say he is increasingly relying on security forces to stay in power. The United States and others have recently raised concerns about torture by security agents, who have been accused of missing opposition supporters.