The Uhuru Institute for Social Development a social business that inspires citizens to generate wealth together through the cooperative business model and youth entrepreneurship and leadership learning programs was yesterday raided at 12:45pm by security operations led by Mr. Hilary Nuwahereza from the police CIID office in Kibuli accompanied by plain clothed men and a lady.
Oblivious of what the day would unfold into, the employees were shocked to see the Katalima Crescent Road condoned off and outside the perimeter wall, the police had equally deployed preventing any staff from leaving and visitors from entering the office. The commander of the operations handed over a search warrant obtained from the Chief Magistrate’s court of Kampala at Buganda Road. The search warrant which was addressed to the Operations Director at the Institute, stated that the police had come to search computers, documents, mobile phones, and financial transactions that could enable them investigate reasonable suspicion based on a case reported to them; the search warrant did not state what the police was suspicious about.
The team at the Uhuru institute cooperated while the police combed through the office in an operation that lasted for 7 hours; they searched mainly the finance office and the IT equipment. Without communicating what they had found they took, 13 financial files, various vouchers of mainly dollar transactions, 15 phones of staff and the visitors they found at the office. The police also took with them our employee Francis Lulahali who on their permission, had used one of the office mobile phones that was being used for research to call his mother to inform her that he would be late. After the call he had deleted the call from the office phone which had initially been taken for exhibit and that action was interpreted by the police as suspicious hence his detention. The institute is working closely with our lawyers to free Francis who is currently detained at Kira Road police station.
We inform Ugandans and the world that the statement made by Mr. Vincent Ssekate is false and damaging to the reputation of the institute. It is ironic that the police are suspicious of Uhuru Institute yet recently two MOUs with the Ministry of Trade Industry and Cooperatives as well as the National Forestry Authority were signed with the institute for joint work in cooperative growth and greening Uganda. The cooperative movement which for a long time had been in slumber has started being active partly due to the work of The Uhuru Institute’s which has been recognized as being the catalyst of the speedy cooperative revival.
The board, directors, staff, cooperators and well-wishers of the Institute condemn this cowardly act intended to interrupt the institute’s Nobel cause of fighting poverty and promoting socio-economic transformation. We demand the immediate release of our staff and the speedy return of all properties confiscated. We are committed to working with young entrepreneurs and cooperatives to drive Uganda to economic freedom, which responsibility lies with all of us.
We pledge to continue with our work and to involve all the relevant stakeholders as we have always done and we believe together we shall grow this country to prosperity.
FOR GOD AND OUR COUNTRY.