Civil Society Relaunches ‘Black Monday’ Campaign, to Award Corrupt Officials

Former Ethics Minister, Miria Matembe speaking at the launch of Black Monday.

A consortium of civil Society organisations led by Action Aid International Uganda have Monday relaunched the Black Monday campaign dedicated against fighting corruption in the country.

The Black Monday campaign was launched in November 2012, by civil society and anti-corruption activists with the aim of rallying citizens behind the fight against corruption through citizen-led approaches.

Action Aid Uganda’s Job Kiija said on Monday that the Black Monday Campaign seeks to mobilize citizens to mount a sustained assault against the injustice of the theft of public funds.

“The reason the movement was started was because of the continued assault on tax payers’ money by people in government and other people that are supposed to be custodians of public resources,” Kiija said.

He said that the ultimate goal is to see that integrity in public life is restored through a citizen-led process that rejects theft of public money.

The custodians of the country’s resources have lost trust in the public facilities in the country including the hospitals whose resources have been swindled, he said.

Kiija highlighted that after the relaunch, the organisations will invest in purely citizen engagement to inspire Ugandans to reject corrupt political and public officials.

“We want to start a process of identifying the most corrupt people and giving them awards because they are doing the best job for the corruption movement and award them so that they can know that we appreciate the work they are doing in swindling tax payers’ money,” Kiija said.

The campaign will as well expose Civil Society organisations that swindle donor funding that is aimed at helping Ugandans.

“We are aware that even in the civil society sector, there are stories of corruption and abuse of donor funding. Aware that civil society organisations receive this money on behalf of Ugandans, we commit to launch an expose on such corruption and push for collective action by the relevant actors,” Kiija said.

Action Aid Uganda, Country Manager, Xavier Ejoyi said the fight against corruption should be citizen-led rather than leaving it to the corrupt.

He said the relaunch of the campaign is aimed at raising anger among the citizens so that they can rise up and shun the corrupt.

He urged the citizens to stop ‘massaging’ the corrupt as well as praising them.

“We call on citizens to wear black clothes every Monday as a sign of your resolve against theft of public funds and shun corruption at personal level,” Xavier said.

“Citizens must isolate all public money thieves and denounce them wherever you encounter them. Boycott all businesses and enterprises of the corrupt and supporting Ugandans working honestly.”

The activists are also calling on citizens to demand political action from the state against public money thieves as well as speaking to at least 5 Ugandans about dangers of theft of public funds and actions needed.

Curbing corruption is among the areas the current government has not made much success. President Yoweri Museveni has at numerous times in recent months admitted that the issue of graft remains a big problem. He however maintains it is easy to be death with.

Earlier this year, the President said it is possible to stamp out graft by conducting thorough investigations, enforcement of prosecution and getting the courts to dispense immediate justice.

He argued it is not sustainable for one to be prosperous as a result of amassing wealth when the vast majority continue to live destitute lives.

“The prosperity of a few cannot be sustainable”.

A report recently released by the Anti-corruption Unit of State House which was established by Museveni in December last year, revealed that the Unit has so far interdicted 82 public officials for corruption.

Since its inception, the Unit headed by Lt Col Edith Nakalema has received a total of 58,415 complaints, 4,017 of which are currently under investigation.

At least 93 person had been charged in court on corruption related offences ranging from abuse of office, causing financial loss, conspiracy to defraud, corruption, diversion of public funds, embezzlement and impersonation as of October 23.

Out of the 93, a total of 82 are public officers and these were accordingly interdicted, while 11 are private individuals.

The Unit had by October this year secured 5 convictions 3 of which are related to bribery and 2 related to impersonation.

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