Besigye s condition forces Raila to cancel visit

April 30, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 30 – Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday cancelled a plan to visit Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye at the Nairobi hospital, after being informed that he was not in a condition to talk.

The Premier had wanted to visit him in the afternoon but his protocol team was informed that Dr Besgiye had just been taken to the theatre and was not in a position to see anyone.

The Ugandan opposition leader\’s condition was however expected to improve by Sunday, according to Mr Odinga\’s director of communications Dennis Onyango.

Dr Besigye arrived in Nairobi on Friday night to seek treatment for injuries sustained during his fourth arrest in a month.  TV footage showed him under attack with pepper sprays by plainclothes policemen who extensively damaged his vehicle on Thursday.

On Friday, protests continued in Kampala as supporters came out in support of Dr Besigye, who has been leading demonstrations over surging prices for staple foods and gasoline, after inflation accelerated to 11.1 percent in March, from 6.4 percent a month earlier.

President Yoweri Museveni has said the walk campaign over the rise in the cost of living was illegal.

Dr Besigye was freed on bail on Thursday but did not make any public appearances or statements on Friday.

According to reports, he was in poor health after he withstood long volleys of tear gas and pepper-spray unleashed directly on his face and body.

At least two people have died in riots in the Ugandan capital over the treatment of the opposition leader.

Security forces fired live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse protesters burning tires.

The opposition leader has held five "walk to work" demonstrations to protest rising prices and what he calls a corrupt government.

On Friday, demonstrators carried posters praising Besigye, and questioned why police needed to use violence to arrest him.

Opposition members of parliament have demanded an explanation from the government over his treatment.

Dr Besigye, who was shot in the hand during a similar recent protest, lost to President Museveni in a February election he says was rigged.

Before the polls, he had called for Egypt-style uprisings in the event of fraud.

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