Opinion: Museveni suspending the DGF is biting the hand that feeds him

Now that the letter from President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni to Minister of Finance Matia Kasaija is out. The infamous letter where he suspends the accounts of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF). This is important, because the DGF supports programs and organizations across the Republic. The DGF is sole funder of several of civil society organizations and non-governmental organizations. There are atleast 70 of them that is hit by this and would cease operations, as the funding and lack of funds to pay staff. That is all happening, because Museveni wrote a letter in early January 2021.

President Museveni have targeted CSOs and NGOs around election time. That is common. That he claims they are up to “no good” and supporting “terrorism” or any other objectively bad enterprise they can. That has been common for decades. However, ceasing their funding totally and blocking a multi-national funding scheme like the DGF. Only undercuts the ideals of the givers, the donors and the ones who monetary support the government and people in the Republic in general. This isn’t government funded money from the tax-base. No, these funds are given from outsiders to support governance and other organizations to strengthen democratic institutions and educate the masses.

The DGF is a collective fund donated by the European Union, Austria, Denmark, Ireland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden to support programs and CSOs/NGOs in Uganda. They are partnered with at least 72 organizations across the republic to different capacities. All working in various of fields and for causes to better the Republic. They are all civil society voices for good governance and creating a freer society. However, that is clearly not the beacon that the President believes in anymore.

The donors that see this action by Museveni should shun him and cease all direct donor-funds and also block all loans through multi-national organizations, which the donors are funding as well. That would make it harder for the President to operate and he would seek funds elsewhere. If he wants to be free of stipulations and not have any oversight. This cutting funds to International Monetary Funds (IMF) and World Bank (WB). Also others where the Government of Uganda is seeking loans for development projects and government programs.

The National Resistance Movement was able in the late 1980s and 1990s to have progress and financial backing to pursuit the government programs, which is it so proud of. The state also saw debt relief and cuts from donors. Now, the NRM is gaining more debt, but also putting in obstacles with the donors in regards to the DGF. The ones funding DGF should suspend all other funds and funding that goes towards Museveni. As a retaliation to this, as these projects, programs and NGOs/CSOs are working for ideals that Museveni once stood for, but with lingering in office despises.

We are clearly seeing the punitive action made by Museveni. He wants to prove supremacy, but does it in a mockery of a way. This is only showing the donors what sort of little man he is. That he has to go to this step. Take away the securities of the CSOs and NGOs. Instead of actually serving the general public. If the President really did that. He would haven’t have the need for all these CSOs/NGOs to cover where the government is lacking. The state is fluid and lacking institutions. That’s why the state needs them to cover the basics and civic education. This is still needed after over 30 years in power. That shows the weakness of the Presidency and his reign.

President Museveni isn’t showing strength here. His showing weakness and lack of control. That he got to act like this. This is acting a villain and hurting own citizens, because he can. So, the donors should act upon this and not just take it on the chin. They should show force too. Just to prove him what he has done. It is about time and not just “condemn” and move-on. That is not making any changes or challenging the old man. You need to meet him head-on. He plays games and these are with the lives of all these organizations. It is not the money of Museveni and neither funding from the state either. That is why his sour, as he got to loan to pay his cronies salaries. This is why he attacks and confronts, instead of talking and negotiating with the donors.

What he does with this is putting himself in corner and making less friends. If he wanted more support and legitimacy. He should have acted differently. However, he rather picks the trick of the pariah, instead of the friendly grand-pa, which is what he tries to act in the media. That is clearly not working and that is why this letter is undressing his motives. Peace.

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