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The Ugandan government has withdrawn treason charges against opposition leader Kizza Besigye, a veteran challenger and critic of President Yoweri Museveni’s 35-year rule.

Besigye, a four-time presidential candidate, was arrested and charged with treason in 2016 for staging a ceremony at which he declared himself president following that year’s general election.

Once President Museveni’s personal physician, Besigye fell out with the president in 1999 after describing the ruling party as “dishonest, opportunistic and undemocratic”.