The Uganda Police Force has come under sharp criticism for abetting corruption and harassing anti corruption activists under the black Monday movement.
Participants during a two day civil society exhibition criticized police for breaking up peaceful demonstrations by anti corruption crusaders aimed at raising awareness about the vise in the country.
It came after Ibin Ssenkumbi; the Kampala Metropolitan police spokesperson presented a paper, in which he attempted to portray Uganda Police as an anti graft agent.
However, several participants disputed the claims saying police is widely known as one of the most corrupt institutions in the country. Ssenkumbi, who speaking on behalf of his boss Andrew Felix Kaweesi, the Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander was at a loss to explain the role of police in fighting corruption. The participants faulted police for frustrating efforts by CSO’s to hold peaceful demonstrations aimed at sensitizing citizens about public graft.
They singled out Black Monday activists, who have repeatedly clashed with police, who they argue should instead support their efforts. They mentioned that over 30 activists have been locked up for fighting corruption only to be released on bond. During the debate Hatwib Katoto, the Katerera County Member of Parliament in Rubirizi District argued that it was an irony for police to harass members of the public yet government has a policy on zero tolerance to corruption.
In his defense Ssenkumbi said Uganda Police does not condone any form of corruption. He blamed the clashes between police and CSO’s to lack of coordination in their activities.
According to Ssenkumbi, traffic police were the most affected demanding as minimal as 1000 UGX in petty bribes.
Leonard Okello, an official from Uhuru Institute blames the rampant corruption in police to low pay considering that they are the lowest paid of the uniformed ranks.
According to the latest East Africa Bribery Index, Uganda Police Force is the most bribery-prone institution in the five East African Community partner states. Bribery was demanded or “suggested” from about 75% of the people seeking service from the police.