On Friday 20th March 2015, UDN participated in an Anti-Corruption Marathon organised by the Church of Uganda - Sebei Diocese, who are a local partner of the Democratic Governance Facility. The event, held in Kapchorwa Town, drew over 200 participants from the Sebei region, including the young and old, male and female alike. Several local and national Civil Society Organisations participated in the event, including: UDN, TI, ACCU, CSBAG, Teso Anti-Corruption Coalition (TAC), UDN Community Monitors from Kumi, Tororo and Bukedea Districts, among others as an expression of solidarity in the fight against corruption.
UDN's Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Tumwebaze gave a speech on behalf of the Civil Society fraternity and he thanked all CS actors for their efforts and dedication in Anti-Corruption advocacy, urging all Ugandans to keep up the good fight for a corrupt-free Uganda. The Kapchorwa District RDC, Mrs. Jane Frances Kuka represented the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity as the Chief guest. In her speech, she recogninsed the contribution of Civil Society and reiterated Government commitment to fighting corruption. She also called upon the communities to utilise the institutions in place and provide as much information to the state on matters of corruption to help curb the vice.
The Kapchorwa District Sports Officer decried widespread corruption tendencies within the Sports sector as well as underfunding for Sports promotion in the region and the country as a whole. Government was called upon to increase support for Sports talent nurturing, as a means of overcoming societal challenges like youth unemployment, school dropout rates especially for the girl-child and household poverty. The Bishop of Sebei Diocese (Church of Uganda) also graced the occasion.
DGF pledged continued support towards the anti-corruption marathon activities.
UDN Executive Director, Mr. Patrick Tumwebaze (speaking) introduces UDN community-based monitors working in Teso Sub-region while giving his speech during the Marathon event
UDN as a part of the Civil Society fraternity against Corruption and misuse of Public funds in Uganda welcomed the Anti-Corruption Court's ruling against former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Public Service, John Kashaka Muhanguzi and Principal Accountant Henry Bamutura for their role in awarding a contract to supply 70,000 bicycles to LC officials all over the country to a sham company, Ammam Industrial tools and Equipment Ltd Aitel. The fraudulent contract awarding process subsequently led to a financial loss of over UGX 4billion to the Government.
A ruling by Justice Catherine Bamugemereire ordered the accused to both serve 10 years and 10 days in jail, and each is to refund about sh600m to government, as well as being disqualified from any public service job for a period of 10 years. UDN was joined by two other Anti-Corruption agencies namely; the Anti-Corruption Coalition Uganda and Transparency International (Uganda) in hailing Government efforts thus far in bringing culrprits of mismanagement of public funds to book in a Press Conference held at the Transparency International offices in Ntinda, Kampala on Sunday, 27th July 2014.
UDN Director of Programmes, Julius Kapwepwe Mishambi(centre), displays a compilation of high-level Corruption cases in Uganda since 2000 during the Press Conference, 27th July 2014.
The Civil Society however called upon more government action in terms of expediting the passing of the Anti-Corruption (Ammendment) Bill 2012 that authorises confiscation of property acquired as a result of corruption, and also asked for a revision of the court order to ask the convicts to refund all the UGX 4bn lost and not merely a fraction.
Proceedings of the Press Conference were featured by several national media houses, including NTV, WBS TV, Record TV, NBS TV, Top TV, the Daily Monitor, The New Vision, Radio One and K FM.
Uganda Debt Network recognises the importance of the media in facilitating its advocacy work both at the local and national levels, for public information and action by duty bearers. Over the years, UDN has developed working relationships with several media houses to express national policy concerns affecting service delivery and good governance in Uganda for Government action. Furthermore, UDN has entered strategic partnerships with local radio stations across its areas of operation to run radio programmes where duty bearers, service providers and community members (rights holders/beneficiaries) come together on the same platform to discuss service delivery concerns and accountability issues for improved service delivery.
On Monday, 14th July 2014, Uganda Debt Network launched a new community radio programme in the Bunyoro Sub-Region as a platform for increased community participation in monitoring and evaluation of Government service delivery programmes within the region. This comes after UDN conducted a training in the Community Based Monitoring and Evaluation System (CBMES)for community monitors from Pakany and Kajarubu Sub-Counties in April. The live interactive bi-monthly Radio TalkShow that will air from 10:00am-11:00am every first and last Saturday of the month on Bunyoro Broadcasting Station (96.0 FM) is to be jointly run by UDN community monitors in conjunction with staff from Recreation for Development and Peace (RDP), a local NGO. It is hoped that the Community Monitoring and evaluation and radio programme will go a long way in fostering social accountability in Masindi District and the entire Bunyoro area through community empowerment.
Executive Director, Patrick Tumwebaze (left) briefs listeners on UDN's work during the launch of the Community Radio Programme on Bunyoro Broadcasting Station in Masindi Town
Currently, UDN facilitates five other community radio programmes on Kinkizi FM in Kanungu District, Saviour FM (Amuria District), Continental FM (Kumi District), Crane FM (Bushenyi District) and Eastern Voice FM (Bugiri District).