KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan police said on Tuesday they had detained a man accused of writing a book criticising President Yoweri Museveni and predicting his removal from office by “people power”.
Vincent Nzaramba whose book, “People Power, Battle the Mighty General” had yet to hit book stores, was taken into custody by a para-military section of Ugandan police on Saturday, his wife, Gloria Nzaramba, told Reuters.
Police seized about 200 copies of the book from the author’s house, she said, adding that her husband had been tortured and was on a hunger strike.
“Nzaramba was arrested and we have him. We’re currently conducting investigations into his book and we’ll give you details later,” police spokeswoman Judith Nabakoba told Reuters.
Nabakoba did not specify the charges against Nzaramba and did not respond to a texted message asking her to respond to the torture allegations.
The book has since been posted in the documents section of the social networking site Twitter, Reuters confirmed.
In the book, Nzaramba says that Museveni, in power since 1986, had left Ugandans only three options to get rid of him: a putsch, a civil war or a non-violent revolution similar to the Arab Spring uprisings.
He says anti-government protests against rising food and fuel prices that have rocked Uganda since April are building the momentum for a non-violent revolution.
“With the blocked constitutional means of transfer of power, Uganda is likely to experience a coup d‘etat, a civil war or a non-violent revolution,” the book says.
Such an upheaval could strike in Uganda “any time from today”, the book adds.
Nzaramba’s wife said she had been denied access to her husband since Saturday but after starting a public campaign for his release, police had allowed her to see him on Tuesday.
“I spoke to him today but he’s badly beaten and he said he no longer feels safe at RRU and will not eat until they release him or take him to court,” she said.
The Rapid Response Unit (RRU), which arrested Nzaramba, has in the past been accused by rights groups and the opposition of torturing its detainees to extract confessions.
Initially hailed as an exemplary African leader who restored the rule of law and revamped a broken economy, Museveni’s critics say he is autocratic.
Museveni won presidential elections in February with a commanding 68 percent against his rival Kizza Besigye’s 26 percent but the opposition rejected the results as rigged, and kicked off protests against the rising cost of essential goods.
In October last year the government seized 500 copies of a book critical of Museveni and authored by Besigye’s sister, Olive Kobusingye.