Affected Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have angrily reacted to the suspension of their operations by the ministry of internal affairs through the National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO Bureau) on Friday.
The executive director of NGO Bureau, Okello Stephen, while addressing a press conference at Uganda Media Centre in Kampala announced they had suspended the operations of 54 NGOs for alleged non-compliant with the NGO Act 2016.
Of the 54 NGOs that were suspended, the bureau said 23 NGOs were operating with expired permits contrary to section 31 (1) and 32(1) of the NGO Act 2016.
15 NGOs had failed to file annual returns and audited books of accounts to the NGO Bureau contrary to section 39(2) and (3) of the NGO Act 2016 and have other non-compliance issues while 16 NGOs are operating without registering with the NGO Bureau contrary to section 29 (1 ), 31 (1) and 31 (2).
But some of the affected NGOs are irked and are alleging that the government targeted those NGOs working on promoting and protecting human rights and the environment in the country.
Godber Tumushabe, the associate director of Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS) upon receiving the letter from the NGO Bureau tweeted that the Bureau is being used by the government to frustrate civil society organizations in the country.
"We maintain [that] the Bureau is [being] used once again to perpetuate political and administrative harassment of our organization. We will be seeking clarity from URSB [Uganda Registration Services Bureau],” Tumushabe tweeted.
The operations of GLISS were halted for operating without registering with the NGO Bureau.
Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) whose operations were halted for operating with expired NGO permits led other 23 NGOs to issue a protest statement in which it revealed that it has resolved to file a court case against the Attorney General (Ugandan government) to stop the intimidation and delegitimization of CSOs.
“AFIEGO and its partners have been targeted because they play key human as well as environmental rights protection roles in the oil and gas sector. The organizations also hold government accountable with neither fear nor favour,” AFIEGO said in a statement.
Adding: “Several of the other organizations whose operations have been halted or indefinitely suspended also play key accountability roles in the human rights and civic education spheres.
For many years now, the government has targeted these and other CSOs with threats of deregistration, freezing of their bank accounts, arrests, office raids, and others,”
Despite the atmosphere of intimidation in which the CSOs operate, AFIEGO vowed to continue playing its role because it is integral in protecting all Ugandans and our environmental resources.
It called on the public to work with CSOs to engage the government and use all the available legal options to end the intimidation of CSOs and the hostile civic space in which CSOs operate.
The Environment Governance Institute (EGI) Uganda, one of the affected organizations suspended for not being registered with the Bureau, in a statement noted that the latest suspension has come 'at a time when the government has since January suspended the operations of Uganda’s Biggest donor the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) which has been supporting over 100 organizations promoting human rights, democracy, and environmental conservation in the country.'
"EGI calls on the NGO bureau to stop curtailing the operations of NGOs and acting as an agent focusing on shrinking the operational space as these organizations that play a key role in the development of the country," EGI said.
The European Union in Uganda in solidarity with the suspended NGOs said civil society is a key partner making vital contributions to Uganda’s development. We look forward to the resolution of any issues with registration of organizations so that this important work can continue in the spirit of a genuine partnership based on mutual accountability." it said in a Tweet on Friday.
FULL LIST OF SUSPENDED NGOS
In the exercise of its mandate the NGO Bureau has with IMMEDIATE EFFECT;
Halted the operations of the following NGOs operating with expired NGO permits;
- Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)
- Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)
- Citizens' Concerns Africa
- Elohim Power Transforming Africa
- Orone Foundation
- Light Concepts
- Public Policy Institute
- Otubet Youth United Development Organization
- Support Girl Child Uganda
- Saints Preparation Ministries
- Adoration Ministries
- 12.Islamic Da-awah and Orphanage Foundation
- Jesus Shines Youth Ministries International
- 14.La Borne Missionary Centre Uganda
- Wanyange Child Support Foundation
- 16.St. Francis Foundation for the Poor
- Ray of Hope International Uganda
- Mindset Change Development Organisation
- Liberty International Foundation
- Foundation for Women Empowerment for Sickler Aid
- Karambi Action for Life Improvement
- Tech Plus Love Foundation
- Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations
Indefinitely suspended the following NGOs that have consistently failed to file annual returns and audited books of accounts and have other noncompliance issues.
- Chapter Four Uganda 2016- 2020
- Citizens' Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) 2019-2020
- Femrite Uganda Women Writers' Association 2017- 2020
- African Humanitarian Action 2017 - 2020
- Safe Places Uganda Foundation (SPU) 2017- 2020
- Citizens Platform for Democracy and Accountability 2017- 2020
- Growth Networks Uganda 2017- 2020
- Pallisa Civil Society Organisation Networks 2017- 2020
- Citizens Election Watch-IT (CEW-I1) 2017, 2019, 2020
- Youth Line Forum Uganda 2017- 2020
- Arise Africa International 2018-2020
- 12.Dotwa Africa 2018-2020
- 13.Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence 2018-2020
- Centre for Conflict Resolution 2019 - 2020
- Youth Equality Centre 2019-2020
Halted the activities ofNGOs operating without registering with the NGO Bureau.
- Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS)
- Rural Action Community Based Organization
- Uganda Help Florida
- Centre for Sustainability Innovation and Research
- Environmental Governance Institute Uganda
- Graffen Organization, Butimba Uganda
- Kwataniza Women's Organization
- Twimukye Women's Organization
- Witness Radio Uganda
- Youth for Green Communities
- 11 . Self-worth Initiative
- VZW Eight
- 13.Adepr Pentecostal International Church Uganda Ltd
- 14.Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action (IDEA)
- Network for Active Citizens
- Leadership Square Africa