Ugandan jobless in court over piglet protest

September 5, 2014 2:03 pm
Two painted piglets outside the Uganda parliament building on June 17, 2014 in Kampala/AFP
Two painted piglets outside the Uganda parliament building on June 17, 2014 in Kampala/AFP

KAMPALA, September 5- Two jobless Ugandan men appeared in court on Friday on charges of infiltrating piglets into the east African nation’s parliament in a protest over corruption and unemployment.

Norman Tumuhimbise, 28, and Robert Mayanja, 34, used the hearing at Kampala’s City Hall Magistrate Court to demand that the animals be handed back for use in further anti-government protests by their group, the “Jobless Brotherhood”.

The activists deny charges of interrupting parliamentary activities, criminal trespass and conspiracy to sneak piglets into parliament. Their case was adjourned to October 8, although they are also facing charges related to another demonstration.

The parliament protest sparked a major security scare and initially prompted a terrorism probe.

“We want them back and we will get them, because if they do not give them back we shall protest again until we have them back,” Tumuhimbise said of the piglets, which were confiscated and are reportedly being held on a government run farm.

He also boasted he would be able to sneak the pigs past security back into parliament.

“I can still deliver (the pigs) at parliament, because I know their weakness,” he warned.

The two used the pigs, painted yellow to represent Uganda’s ruling political party, to spotlight what they allege is a “greedy” and corrupt political elite in Uganda that has no concern for youth unemployment — estimated to be as high as 60 percent.

But Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo accused them of merely trying to extort money from veteran President Yoweri Museveni, and said their piglet stunt amounted to little more than “blackmail”.

“We had numerous requests from them asking the president for financial favours. Their act is actually blackmail,” Opondo said.


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