This morning, UNNGOF led a delegation of CSO Leaders to meet with the Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Kahinda Otafiire.
The delegation included; Ms. Margaret Sekaggya – Human Rights Centre Uganda, Mr. Robert Kirenga – The National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders, Mr. Xavier Ejoyi – ActionAid Uganda and Ms. Winfred Ngabiirwe – Global Rights Alert.
The meeting discussed several issues including; the statement by the National Bureau for NGOs (NGO Bureau) halting operations of the 54 CSOs, the increasing negative narratives by some government officials against the CSO sector, the absence of a Board of Directors for the Regulatory body and the Adjudication Committee, among others.
The meeting agreed on the following:
1. That the halting of operations of 54 NGOs, albeit a compliance-related matter, was done without sufficient notice and/or fair hearing of affected organizations. The Minister promised to look into the matter and seek an immediate amicable resolution.
2. That the NGO sector in Uganda plays a critical role in Uganda’s democratic and development process. As such, the naming and shaming of NGOs without fair hearing defeats the partnership principle between the CSO sector and the Government of Uganda, and affects the credibility of the sector as a whole.
3. The Uganda National NGO Forum will write a formal appeal to the Minister who, in the absence of a duly constituted Board of Directors and the Adjudication Committee, will consider the appeal and provide guidance to the Bureau in relation to the 54 affected CSOs.
4. The Minister will expedite the appointment of the Board of Directors and members of the Adjudication Committee to support the Bureau in playing its enabling and regulatory function.
5. The Minister expressed his commitment to the resumption of the quarterly interactions between the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the NGO Bureau and the CSO sector as an important platform for mutual reflection and learning.
6. That District NGO Monitoring Committees and Sub-County NGO Monitoring Committees be instituted to ensure that Government Officials at the District levels can fully appreciate the roles of the CSOs.
7. The Minister also urged CSOs to comply with the laws governing the sector.
We would like to thank the Minister for giving us the opportunity to interact with the team and discuss these issues in a cordial and fruitful manner. We look forward to more regular and collaborative interactions between the CSO sector and the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and more specifically the National Bureau for NGOs.
24th August 2021
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