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Ugandan anti-corruption activists arrested, charged with inciting violence

Ugandan police have arrested four anti-corruption activists and detained them for over six hours at the Central Police Station in Kampala for protesting the misuse and theft of public funds by government officials. Those arrested included: the vice chairperson of the National NGO Forum, Leonard Okello, the personal assistant to Bishop Zac Niringyiye, Andrew Karamagi, and Emmanuel Muwanika and Micheal Aboneka – both of the National NGO Forum. The four were charged with "inciting violence" and released on police bond.

They were arrested outside of the Ministry of Finance and National Planning in Kampala. They had gone there – carrying anti-corruption placards – to condemn the failure to arrest and prosecute implicated corrupt officials and the unexplained wasteful expenditure of public funds.

The police have severally arrested and questioned members of the "Black Monday Movement" – an anti-corruption civil society group – over their anti-corruption campaigns which are aimed at creating awareness and fighting the rampant corruption in Uganda. Corruption has resulted in the suspension of donor aid to the country. In November of last year, the police cordoned off a hired venue in Kampala and blocked activists from using it to launch this civil society movement, which brings together a number of civil society organizations engaged in the fight against corruption and bad governance.

"The police's continued arrest and [their] preferring [of] charges against anti-corruption activists is a big violation of freedom of assembly, speech and expression which the police force is mandated to safeguard for the enjoyment of all Ugandans. The police should let Ugandans hold their leaders accountable by publicly protesting the misuse and theft of public funds, as well as bad governance,” said HRNJ-Uganda's National Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.

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