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Last Updated: Saturday, 26 November 2005, 15:17 GMT
Uganda press concerned over trial
Dr Besigye is charged with treason

Commentators in Uganda's two main English-language dailies are divided over the trial of opposition leader Kizza Besigye. While some back the government's handling of the case, others are deeply troubled by the ban on discussion in the media.

SAM KUTESA IN NEW VISION

There is great concern about the way the Ugandan opposition is manipulating the foreign media and public about the arrest of their leader, Dr Kizza Besigye... There is absolutely no basis for justifying armed rebellion... Let us not be incited by people who try to tell us lies, destabilise us and take us back to the past.

ANDREW M. MWENDA IN DAILY MONITOR

[Besigye's arrest] brought the worst out of Museveni - although others say it brought the 'true' Museveni to light. The president came across as not being different from other African dictators of old like Mobutu Sese Seko, Robert Mugabe, Daniel arap Moi - possibly signalling that they do not share "M" at the beginning of their surnames for nothing... How could Africa's shining star of yesterday turn out like this?

EDITORIAL IN DAILY MONITOR

The government has banned demonstrations, assemblies, seminars, and public rallies connected to the treason case against opposition leader Kizza Besigye and any other case before the courts of law. This blanket ban ... is troubling and adds to the recent unfortunate events that have accelerated what appears to be the country's descent into unconstitutional rule.

EDITORIAL IN NEW VISION

The court martial is hearing a case in which a number of soldiers, active and retired, are charged with terrorism... At the moment, proceedings seem to be arbitrary. There is urgent need to spell out proper legal procedures to govern it.

JOHN NAGENDA IN NEW VISION

No serious politics follower would believe that in a month of Sundays... Besigye and his rickety FDC [Forum of Democratic Change] Party could win the presidency of Uganda come March 2006... Every effort must be made to enable Besigye, love him or not, to take his part in the presidential elections. This is not for him but for us, especially those of us who will exult in his falling well short of his overwhelming ambition. Which he will!

EDITORIAL IN NEW VISION

Minister of Information Dr Nsaba Buturo has warned media houses, especially radio stations, not to discuss ongoing court cases... (T)he minister was correct to point out that the trial of Col Kizza Besigye is subject to the legal rule of sub judice... [but] it is actually the judiciary that should determine the application of the sub judice rule... and issue more specific guidelines on how the Besigye case should be reported by the media.

EDITORIAL IN DAILY MONITOR

By banning debate on the radios, the minister might mistakenly think he is gagging the stations. But in effect he is gagging Ugandans. It is Ugandans of all status who call into the stations to debate, not the station managers... Dr Buturo is acting like a colonial administrator whose principal cause is to suppress the natives in the conquered territory under occupation, hence the preoccupation with banning, banning and banning.

JOE OLOKA ONYANGO IN DAILY MONITOR

Dr Nsaba Buturo's ban on the reporting, discussion and demonstration over the various court cases and other issues relating to Besigye... are a complete misreading of the rule against sub judice they are supposedly addressing. They are also blatantly unconstitutional and unenforceable.

EDITORIAL IN DAILY MONITOR

We have crossed the Rubicon. President Yoweri Museveni has won endorsement for his 'third term'... His contesting the presidential elections in 2006 is not illegitimate under the amended 1995 constitution that no longer carries the two-term limit. But it flies in the face of a pledge Mr Museveni made to the country in his 2001 presidential election campaign manifesto... In 2001, Museveni also pledged to consolidate gains in democratisation, and put in place mechanisms for an orderly leadership succession... The question is: Can we take him on his word?

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaus abroad.




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