Since 1998, UDN has facilitated community members to undertake community monitoring of public expenditure and service delivery in the Bushenyi area in Western Uganda - which today is comprised of 5 districts of Bushenyi, Rubirizi, Mitooma, Buhweju and Sheema. Supported by UDN, the communities bring forward their field findings to the attention of the Local Government authorities through dialogues, for corrective action or any other necessary follow-up.
UDN together with a UDN supported local NGO in Bushenyi, Ms Western Ankole Anti-corruption Coalition (WAAC), organised a series of district level dialogues, scheduled to take place from 14th-18th July 2014. Two of the planned dialogues were successfully held in Bushenyi and Rubirizi districts on Monday 14th and Tuesday 15th July (e.g see New Vision 17th July, 2014, page 9 and Red Pepper of 16th July, 2014, page 12). A similar exercise in Mitooma District, nonetheless, was on Wednesday 16th July, 2014, halted by the Police.
While the dialogue between the members of the communities and some sub-county and District Local Government officials was going on, police swooped on the unsuspecting participants at about 3.00 p.m. Consequently, three UDN staff members, three members of WAAC and an NTV journalist were detained by police and charged over allegations of "Spreading false propaganda and associating/being an ambassador of a rebel group that wants to over throw the NRM government" - the Black Monday Movement. The journalist’s equipment was also confiscated. The organisers of the dialogue, meanwhile, had prior authorisation from the Resident District Commissioner (RDC) for Mitooma. The detained were later released on Police bond, but had to appear before Police for further questioning on Friday, 18th July 2014. The case against them has since been dropped.
This year, Uganda Debt Network has so far also held Sub-county and District dialogues in Masindi, Kayunga, Mityana and Amuria Districts successfully and remains committed to serving Uganda as public accountability activists despite the seriously dwindling, if not closed civil society space.