Besigye Illness: The Inside Story

viagra geneva; font-size: small;”>The bash was attended by Daily Monitor’s Chris Obore, Daniel Kalinaki and I. The Observer was represented by Shifa Mwesigye. On that day, I represented Red Pepper (RP). I was later joined by RP’s Dalton Kaweesa and Ben Byarabaha.

Before anyone else, I approached Besigye to ask him a few questions for my newspaper. Since he very well knew me for covering FDC activities, he gave me a pat on the shoulder, saying: “Muhame, these days you are my best friend. You have reformed. I see good stories on our party these days unlike in the past when you were anti-FDC.” His aides particularly Sarah Eperu were choking on laughter.

As we talked, I spotted a bright red clot of blood in Besigye’s left eye. So I asked him politely. “Colonel, what’s wrong with your eye? Any problem?” He answered, confidently:

“Not at all! I just got a strange infection. In fact I am feeling a lot of pain. I won’t stay long. I am leaving soon on advice of my doctors but that is between me and you,” he said. I never published the story since we had agreed to keep the matter ultra-secret.

Wines were passed around but Besigye concentrated on soda.

True to his word, after his speech, in which he promised to set up a fund for journalists’ welfare if he ascended to the highest political office in the land, Besigye was chauffeured to his home in Kasangati for bed-rest.

But given the current crisis facing FDC and overwhelming public interest in Besigye’s health, I think it’s time to come out clean.


To understand the problems faced by Besigye, one needs to take a glimpse at his private life.

Unlike other politicians, Besigye neither smokes nor drinks alcohol. His favourite dishes are Irish potatoes and beans. He is not a fan of beef. Recently, he has been having lunch at Ingrid Turinawe’s (jailed on treason charges) restaurant in Kamwokya, a Kampala suburb. During his leisure time, Besigye carefully reads war novels. He is a fan of Mao Tse Tung. His closest friends say he used to sleep for a paltry three hours a day. But ever since doctors advised him to have plenty of sleep lest he loses sight, Besigye has been sleeping for only 5 hours.

While at Kasangati, he tends his cattle and holds meeting with his neighbours. Some have gotten jobs at his petrol stations in Kampala.

His most favourable TV stations are NTV, CNN and BBC. He also has a thing for Kfm Hot Seat programme under the stewardship of Charles Mwanguhya. While overseas, Besigye visits health facilities.

Now one wonders. Why would such a man, who is a doctor by profession, battle such peculiar illnesses?


According to FDC Chief Administrator Wycliffe Bakandonda, Besigye was reportedly splashed with poisonous substances during a highly publicised arrest in April at Mulago Round-about.

“Surely, we suspect it was not only teargas sprayed into his eyes. That was a dangerous operation, I am telling you,” Bakandonda told this reporter.

“Since that attack, we decided to carry out an extensive inquiry into what really happened. We suspect he was tear-gassed with poison,” Bakandonda said.

“We have set aside a group of doctors in United States to investigate the matter. The inquiry has been going only covertly. We are soon getting the findings,” he elaborated.

He added: “Everyday our people die mysteriously. Why? That’s what we want to find out and reach a conclusive end. You journalists know about these strange deaths but do not write such sensitive articles in fear of government backlash.”

Such statements from Bakandonda, a close confidant of Besigye, cannot be swept under the carpet. Rarely does he speak to press.

In April, this journalist telephoned Besigye’s sister Dr. Olive Kobusingye. At that time Kobusingye was unsettled, being at the heart of preparations of flying Besigye to Nairobi Hospital for treatment of eye bruises sustained during the Mulago arrest.

“The truth is that we are deeply worried Besigye might go blind. We are very scared of his life. The poisonous gas sprayed into his face has hurt him so much. Eyes are very delicate,” Kobusingye said.

In fact most FDC officials I have talked to say it was a miracle Besigye survived death during the Mulago attack. They wondered why a hooded-man, who wielded the sledge hammer that ferociously smashed Besigye’s windscreen, took off to the neighbouring military intelligence headquarters. What was the hammer for? How did the hooded man know Besigye would resist arrest thus the need for the hammer?

Most FDC officials concur that Besigye’s life is more threatened by ‘external’ than internal threats. This explains why during 2011 election campaigns, FDC MPs Reagan Okumu mobilised a huge squad of muscular men to protect the opposition kingpin.

Kobusingye was not the last person to hint on Besigye’s death threats. A few weeks ago, FDC Vice President Eastern Uganda Salaam Musumba told press the party had information security wanted to exterminate Besigye.

However, Presidential Press Secretary Tamale Mirundi rubbished the allegations, saying the opposition political dynamite is a spent force and there was no need to end his life.

Coordinator of Intelligence Organs David Tinyefuza told press a few weeks ago no one had any intention of killing Besigye, adding, such rumours were baseless.

Information Minister Mary Karooro Okurut added her voice in defence of government saying that the ruling party does not survive on elimination of opponents.


Much as FDC claim Besigye was poisoned, he recently suffered a heavy flu. Besigye even had to postpone walk-to-work campaign indefinitely because of a weak body.

The flu pulled his strength down on November 3. In fact it was this news website that has now gained overwhelming popularity for its boldness, which broke the story on day that Besigye was sick.

Since then he has never recovered, despite getting treatment from local hospitals here in Kampala, London and United States. What kind of flu is this? The same flu could not on November 3 allow him move from his Kasangati home to All Saints Church in Nakasero, just a thirty minute drive to attend the Memorial Service of former Rwanda envoy Maj. Gen. Samuel Nanyumba. The fallen soldier was a close friend of Besigye while in the army.

While attending the ‘Grand Debate’, organised by FDC-UK Chapter in London, Besigye was worn down by the same flu. While meeting Cameron in London, Besigye’s health was no better!

Last week, Besigye jetted in from London but matters worsened on Saturday. By Sunday morning, Besigye had difficulty in breathing. A close relative humorously told this investigator: “Maybe teargas has clotted in his lungs!” That’s when he was rushed to a hospital in United States.

Bakandonda says the inquiry into Besigye’s health would release details soon.


God forbid. Much as this is a very sensitive subject, political experts warn of a possible earthquake in case bad news started rolling in the country. A few months ago, Besigye’s supporters had to be blocked by the army from setting Kampala on fire after rumours spread that Besigye had died.

Pundits say Besigye’s life is more precious than gold for the political stability of the nation.

They concur that joking with Besigye’s life tantamount to dancing on the heads of snakes.

While meeting a group of youth leaders at Collin Hotel in Mukono last year, former army commander Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu said Uganda was a timing bomb waiting for a spark.

“Museveni is sitting on a powder keg,” the FDC National mobiliser warned.

Only political novices can rule out the possibility of Besigye achieving his lifetime dream –Uganda’s presidency – but he must save his life first!


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