By Mariam Namakula
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has revealed its immediate and indefinite suspension of 15 non-government organizations (NGOs) in Uganda.
According to Stephen Okello, the Executive Director Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who spoke to the District Focus, at the Uganda Media Center on Friday said these NGOs had consistently failed to file their annual returns and audited books of accounts coupled with other non-compliance issues.
Mr Okello said this was contrary to the NGO Bureau section 39(2) and (3) of the NGO Act 2016 and therefore the ministry could not keep looking on.
“The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is mandated to register, regulate, monitor, inspect, coordinate and oversee all NGO operations in the country,” he emphasized.
He added that as a result of its monitoring and investigation functions the NGO Bureau, it found that 15 and other 39 (54) NGOs had violated the NGO Act 2016. He urged the public and all its stakeholders to take note of its decision against the affected organizations.
Mr Okello also noted that its stakeholders help in enforcing these decisions by ensuring that the affected organizations halt their operations with immediate effect.
Some of the suspended NGOs are Chapter Four Uganda 2016-2020, Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda 2019-2020, Pallisa Civil Society Organization Networks 2017-2020, African Humanitarian Action 2017-2020,Safe Places Uganda Foundation 2017-2020, Citizen Election Watch-IT 2017,2019,2020 and Femrite Uganda Women Writers’ Association 2017-2020
A total of 54 NGOs have been halted from performing their operations in Uganda including 23 NGOs that were operating with expired permits contrary to section 31(1) and 32(1) of the NGO Act 2016 and 16 that were operating without registering the NGO Bureau contrary to section 29 (1) , 31(1) and (2).
Challenges faced by the NGOs have not been alien to Uganda since this year, President Museveni in a letter dated January 2, had directed the Minister Of Finance to suspend the activates of Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) a five-year program the was initiated by the international community to support government and non-governmental groups working to promote human rights, deepen democracy and improve accountability and was apparently funding most of the NGOs in Uganda