21 January 2013

Uganda: Police Warns Black Monday Activists

Police have cautioned anti-corruption activists behind the controversial "Black-Monday" anti- corruption crusade against trespassing onto private properties of other people in the process of carrying-out their activities.

The warning follows police intelligence reports revealing that the activists were making unsanctioned visits to homes, churches, schools and other private institutions without seeking permissions from the owners, distributing fliers and posters.

Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi told the press over the weekend that several people have filed complaints at various Police stations in Kampala accusing the activists of encroaching onto their premises to distribute their messages.

"We urge the activist to pursue their endeavors in an organized and legal manner without interfering with other people's affairs and private lives. They ought to seek permission from people before entering their premises," Ssenkumbi said.

He further warned the activists against encumbering business in public facilities such as roads, hospitals, schools, ministries and markets.

Ssenkumbi's comments follow arrest of two Black-Monday activists last week for allegedly handing-out black fliers with strong anti-corruption messages to motorists along Jinja road causing a mini traffic jam in the process.

Police arrested Arthur Larok, the executive director of Action Aid Uganda and his colleague Leonard Okello and detained them at Jinja road police station for four hours before releasing them after opening general inquiry files in their names.

"The activists were indeed exercising their rights but in the wrong place because they were interfering with normal flow of traffic. We arrested them because some road users tipped us that they were causing traffic jam," Ssenkumbi stated.

However, Larok disclosed that their activity was successful despite the arrests adding that their anti-corruption messages had penetrated most areas of Kampala as a result of the campaign.

He revealed that, by the time they were arrested, they had already distributed the fliers along numerous roads in Entebbe, Acacia, Mulago, Wandegeya and Mengo city suburbs.

Their new target, Larok optimistically noted is now to spread their campaign to the rural areas in light of enlightening them about corruption and its effects on the ordinary person.

The black Monday campaign launched by civil society organizations late last year following exposure of major corruption scandals in government is meant to pile pressure on government to take a harsh stance on the vice.

Every Monday, the activists wear black attires as a symbol of mourning for the billions of money Uganda loses to corruption annually. Their objective is to indoctrinate all Ugandans with the idea of wearing black clothes on Mondays in protest of corruption through their campaigns.

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