Public institutions seem to be bent on leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to curtail public scrutiny.
This follows a move by the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) to ban travellers from taking photos and videos at Entebbe International Airport.
The shocking ban was issued in signposts the airport authorities put at several strategic points of the airport, reading “CAPTURING VIDEOS AND TAKING PHOTOS IS PROHIBITED – MANAGEMENT”.
While commenting on the latest development, Vianney Luggya, the UCAA said the guidelines are not new and have been in place for long.
However, members of the public believe the measures are new and are being implemented to gag the public in the wake of recent exposure of the massive corruption and extortion by Entebbe airport officers.
It should be noted that in recent weeks, UCAA came under fire after members of the general public outed pictures and videos showing some unscrupulous airport officials extorting members of the public.
The extortion, according to the viral videos, was in form of money and at worst case scenarios, sexual assault.
Pinned to the wall, UCAA was forced to terminate about 32 staffers against whom they had received complaints relating to the extortion. Management then went on to pledge to deal with more extortion at the airport, urging the public to report such cases with “credible evidence”.
But following news of the ‘gagging’ signposts going viral, members of the public expressed varied opinions, with many alluding to a desperate desire by the airport management to perpetuate the corruption at the airport unabated.
“You guys recorded videos and photos of corrupt and scandalous offers at the airport. Now they have shamelessly banned you, COORPTION 3:0 TRAVELLERS,” wrote Kaddu Yusuf on his Facebook wall.
And pointing to bigger management problems at the airport, other Ugandans opined thus:
“CAA and its staff are all corrupt. The management recruited their relatives,” said Muzamil.
In conclusion, CAA mgt is part of the corruption racket at the airport. Even the biggest airports don’t restrict travellers from taking pictures or videos…” Mark wrote.
“Protecting the corrupt. The whole airport management is a beneficiary of the vice,” opined Ray.
THINGS GET NASTIER
The latest move by the airport management is an escalation of a raft of brutal measures the airport has adopted to crush any form of public scrutiny targeting corruption tendencies there.
Just last week, three journalists were arrested by airport security and detained at Abaita ababiri Police Station on accusations of reporting negatively about the airport.
The trio was identified as George William Kakooza attached to CBS Radio, Sulah Kagugube and Norah Odoi attached to UBC TV.
Reports indicated that the three were arrested while on their way from duty at Kigungu by alleged aviation security personnel who were travelling in a UCAA bus, UBC 431C. The journalists claimed having been tortured while on the bus.