- What is the Black Monday Movement (BMM)?
BMM is a social movement against theft of public funds by government officials and leaders that is symbolized by wearing black every Monday. It is a campaign of action around Uganda by citizens from many backgrounds including NGO activists, students, youth, women, religious and politicians to get rid of theft of public funds and other resources by public leaders. It started in October 2012 by citizens tired and angry about continued massive theft of public funds by government officials after the OPM and Pensions scandals and came together to mourn the loss of integrity in leadership publicly.
2. But why did you choose the color black?
There are two reasons: first is that this is a struggle for the dignity of the black people who suffer the worst from the effects of theft of public resources. Black is part of our national colours and on our national flag symbolizing our identity. Secondly, in many (not all) of our traditions, black is used for mourning and so every Monday we remember and mourn all those that have lost their lives to corruption or whose dignity has been denied.
3. What are the objectives of BMM?
The overall goal of BMM is restoration of dignity in the lives of every Ugandan. This country suffers poor quality service delivery in part because a colossal amount of money is stolen by some unscrupulous and unpatriotic leaders in government. An end to theft of public resources will free much needed resources to improve the quality and quantity of service delivery thus contribute to the restoration of dignity for majority of Ugandans.
4. But you have been accused of being political and in fact accused by the Police of being ‘4GC Reloaded’ as your activities are similar to those of ‘walk to work’?
First is to state categorically that stopping theft of public funds is a political issue. Corruption kills national and individual development. The choice to stop corruption requires a political decision by political leaders to be accountable to citizens. Building citizens’ power to achieve accountability from public leaders is political. Acting in solidarity as citizens is political. BMM is political but not partisan.On the accusation from the Police, all that is misleading. We believe that following our meeting with the Police Leadership on 5th of February, the force now has a better understanding of what BMM is about and anyone who continues to cast it in different light from what we have articulated is diversionary and an enemy of the noble cause we have embarked on!
5. But where do you get the legitimacy to fight against corruption and government?
First, our legitimacy as citizens is derived from the Constitution and in particular Article 17 (i) which calls upon every Ugandan to be involved in the fight against corruption. Corruption was seen as so serious a matter that a Constitutional Provision was drafted for it! Secondly, the BMM is not necessarily a fight against government; in fact it is our modest contribution to NRM’s commitment to zero tolerance against corruption as stated in Section 1.6 (i) of the 2011-2016 Manifesto.
6. But aren’t you just another group of NGOs seeking cheap publicity and doing accountability to your donors for the funding they give you?
Seeking cheap publicity? Far from it! First we haven’t even developed a robust media strategy yet but the media in its various forms, mainstream and ‘new’ media has been very keen to follow this noble campaign. Secondly, while it is true that many NGOs get most of their funding for numerous programmes from donors, no particular donor is specifically funding the Black Monday Movement! So far the most important resource of BMM is the energy, commitment and effort of citizens, so most of the campaign activities are done voluntarily. Activities that need funds like printing the information brochures are paid for by NGOs with similar objectives to BMM or the personal contributions of BMM members.
7. So who are the leaders of BMM?
First, we need to know that leadership of a social movement is seen from commitment and contribution to achieving the goals of the movement rather than position, and is collective rather than individualistic. BMM has collective leadership involving many people and organizations in different parts of Uganda who are working together actively, peacefully and in solidarity on the campaign. However the following organisations [The Uganda National NGO Forum, DENIVA, Anti Corruption Coalition – ACCU and ActionAid International Uganda] have accepted to be the national contact points and their addresses are clearly depicted in the many materials we produce.
8. Who may join BMM and how can I be involved?
BMM is open to all Ugandans and others who love Uganda, and are ready to work actively, peace¬fully and collectively to restore integrity to our country. You can be part of the movement by: • Wearing black every Monday as a symbol of your displeasure about the theft of public funds. • Reject all acts of corruption and report them. • Shun all thieves of our money – do not invite them to your social functions like weddings and introductions, don’t give them special seats at places of worship, reject their ‘brown envelopes’, do not accept ‘gifts’ from them. • Avoid all businesses known to be owned or run by thieves of our money such as hotels, restaurants, shopping malls, shops, drinking joints, petrol sta¬tions, factories and communications networks.
9. How do I get copies of the BMM newsletter?
You can get copies when they are distributed in public by BMM members. You can also send an email request for copies and print. Please join us to give copies to your family, friends, workmates and others.