President Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday morning led a walk against corruption in the country, themed, “A Corruption-free Uganda Starts with Me,” in the capital city of Kampala, Uganda. He was joined by key government officials, traditional leaders, civil servants and Ugandan citizens.
According to Edith Nakalema, the head of the State House Anti-Corruption Unit, the main conveners of the event, the walk is a show of commitment to support and intensify the fight against corruption.
The three and a half kilometre walk from Constitutional Square to Kololo Independence Grounds saw the closure of roads within the city for several hours, forcing many who didn’t participate to walk to their places of work.
Museveni ended his public address at the event by claiming that, ‘obesity is a part of corruption’.
Irate Ugandans took to Twitter to express their outrage over the President and leader of government ostensibly fighting corruption within his own government by leading a walk, rather than encouraging the active prosecution of cases.
Transparency International ranks Uganda 149th out of 180 countries in its corruption perceptions index of 2018, where the top-listed country is perceived as the least corrupt.
Elsewhere, Uganda’s police blocked opposition leader Kizza Besigye’s own parallel anti-corruption march. Police spokesman Patrick Onyango accused the opposition of planning to cause chaos in the capital. “They were planning to cause chaos in the city,” said Onyango.
Besigye was headed to the location of his march when he was stopped by police and his vehicle forcefully towed back to his home, where he was put under heavy police guard. He has described the walk led by the president as “a parade of the corrupt”.
“What’s happening today is a good demonstration of a captive state because you saw that the city was surrounded by gunmen ensuring that whatever they want to happen is what happens,” Besigye said while addressing journalists in Kampala on Wednesday.
He further declared:
“I understand there has been a march in town of public servants; people that we pay who are the problem of this country, involved in public sector corruption. Today, we have a demonstration of the corrupt, headed by the chief corrupt person, Mr Museveni himself. It’s the parade of the corrupt. What we wanted to do was to precisely label them to show who they were.”
Besigye is a key figure in Ugandan politics; he is an opposition leader in a country whose leadership is highly intolerant to opposing political units organizing.
He unsuccessfully vied against Ugandan strongman, Museveni, in four elections and is often in the crosshairs of Uganda’s ruling party with his arrests being extremely frequent.