Ugandans tipped on using social media to fight public injustices

A man browses through a social media handle.

What you need to know:

  • Mr Henry Muguzi, the executive director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), said in the current context where the political establishment and anti-corruption agencies seem powerless in curbing vices such as corruption, it is time to empower citizens to advocate for their rights.  

Civil society organisations (CSOs) have asked Ugandans to continue utilising social media platforms to fight injustices in public offices.
The CSOs under the auspices of Uganda National NGO Forum were responding to reports of extortion at Entebbe International Airport last week that have since led to the arrest and sacking of several staff.

Speaking to journalists in Kampala yesterday, Mr Henry Muguzi, the executive director of Alliance for Finance Monitoring (ACFIM), said in the current context where the political establishment and anti-corruption agencies seem powerless in curbing vices such as corruption, it is time to empower citizens to advocate for their rights.  
Mr Muguzi added that in the era of digitalisation, more citizens should rise up and utilise social media to push for changes and correct wrongs in society.
“The more we share, the more we shall build knowledge and instigate and encourage citizens to occupy their rightful mandate as prescribed in the Constitution of Uganda. We can do this by ourselves using our mobile phone numbers and digital platforms to make sure that we name and shame these acts,” he said.

Ms Sarah Bireete, the executive director for Centre for Constitutional Governance (CCG), said social media has alerted them that they need to check all agencies of governance that have been extorting money from the people.
 “Article (1) of the Constitution states that power belongs to the people and I, therefore, applaud  Ugandans that we have exercised this power and seen how citizens agency  is able to fight bad governance,” she said
“My call to the people is that we should use the power of technology to record injustices and upload them on social media. Government will have no choice when the critical mass of the people say, ‘you’re rotten’ with evidence,” she said.

Social media is an indicator of contemporary thought, mindset
Trend
Following the social media reports, Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) suspended several staff implicated in the extortion claims and instituted several measures to stem the vice.   On Friday police arrested an aviation staff member who was filmed at the airport seemingly negotiating with a passenger for a Shs400,000 bribe to facilitate their travel, UCAA said.
UCAA deputy director general Olive Birungi Lumonya said their staff member was captured in a viral video appearing  to be bargaining for a bribe.

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