By Juma Nsubuga
Police yesterday arrested and questioned members of the anti-corruption civil society group who were distributing anti-corruption news bulletins dubbed the ‘Black Monday’ and other materials at Wampeewo round-about in the country’s Capital Kampala.
Arthur Larok the Action Aid –Uganda Country Director and Leonard Okello the Executive Director of Uhuru Institute were arrested by the police yesterday and driven on a police patrol car to Jinja road police station from where they were questioned for about 2 hours and later released with no charges preferred against them.
“We had just finished distributing our anti-corruption materials when the officers on a police patrol car arrested us and drove us to Jinja Road Police Station. They questioned us for about 2 hours, but released us without recording statements or preferring any charges. All we are doing is implementing the president’s Manifesto of Zero-tolerance to corruption.” Larok told HRNJ-Uganda soon after being released.
“They arrested us although they never found ground to charge us. They read through the materials, and distributed copies amongst themselves. The police acted professionally.” Okello said.
The “Black Monday” bulletin highlights corruption scandals rocking the country since 2000. It also calls for the improvement of the welfare of the Uganda Police Force. In November 2012, the police cordoned off a hired venue and blocked activists from using it to launch the ‘Black Monday Movement’ –a campaign against escalating cases of high-profile corruption scandals in the country especially in the Prime Minister’s office that saw over Shs20billion stolen.
The Jinja road district police commander, Nganiizi Wesley told HRNJ-Uganda that the activists were not arrested but only summoned for questioning about what they were distributing since the bore police photos. The police have in the past blocked opposition rallies in Kampala, citing security concerns.
“Such acts by the police are a clear violation of Ugandans’ inalienable right to assemble and associate. The police should instead give security to Ugandans as mandated by the law to allow citizens enjoy their rights and freedoms.” Said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.