, KAMPALA, Uganda, Feb 9 – A former Ugandan intelligence chief and critic of President Yoweri Museveni was denied bail on Tuesday, days before elections in which the veteran leader is seeking to extend his 30-year rule.
General David Sejusa, 61, has denied all charges against him, including taking part in politics in violation of army law and being absent without leave.
The military judge, General Levi Karuhanga, said Sejusa was a possible flight risk and ordered him back to a high security jail until a hearing on February 23.
“After hearing from the defence and prosecution side, court hereby rules that General David Sejusa is sent back to Luzira prison,” Karuhanga said.
Sejusa, who was arrested on January 31 and appeared in court Tuesday in handcuffs amid heavy security, has called the charges “ridiculous”, his lawyers said.
He also denies he is still a serving army officer, his lawyer Erias Lukwago said.
Seven opposition candidates are vying to deny Museveni a fifth term, and there are fears violence could mar the campaign, with all sides accusing each other of arming militias to press their claims to power.
Sejusa was once one of Uganda’s top military bosses and a close advisor to Museveni, who has been in power since 1986.
He went into exile in 2013 to Britain after a confidential memo he wrote was leaked to the press, causing a political storm.
The memo claimed Museveni was grooming his son, special forces commander Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to succeed him and that those in the army opposed to the supposed succession plan risked being assassinated.
While in exile, he set up an opposition political party, returning to Uganda in 2015.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo last week claimed opposition parties were raising militia to disrupt the election, claims they have denied.
Opondo said police were investigating claims Sejusa was linked to some of these groups.