Uganda National NGO Forum: Statement on the Meeting with the Minister of Internal Affairs (24.08.2021)

Opinion: The NRM continues its assault on the NGOs

The National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) is steadily going after the Non-Government Organizations (NGOs) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs). This is a deliberate act to stop their efforts and work, which thwarts the ideals of the state and the President at this current time.

That’s why the ones who are doing civic education or participating in the electoral accountability is hit hard. This is very deliberately done, and it’s done after this year’s polls too. The state has already suspended and gone after the foreign funding of several of NGOs in the near past. So, today’s action and press statement from the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Only shows a continuation of these acts.

The NRM and the State House are doing this to stifle, stop and ensure they have no transparency and accountability. They are stopping civilian activity and NGOs from gathering, making conferences and having trainings. This is of organizations such as CCEDU, Chapter Four, Gliss and CEW-IT. The only one missing this time around was CEON-U. The rest was already targeted of these sorts.

The National Bureau of NGOs seems to be only functioning to ensure the demise and silence the possible critics. The ones who dares to question the powers to be and the ones who work to educate the masses. Are apparently the ones this suspended indefinitely. These has been targeted before through other measures, but now they are using the whip of lacking audited books. Which is striking, after the same state blocked and ceased the ability for funding for several of these through the suspension of Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) earlier this year.

That’s why you know the suspensions and direct assault on the 54 NGOs is with a plan. The state has already targeted several of these for months. It is not like they haven’t been under scrutiny for so long.

What we are seeing today is furthering the cause and the battle for legitimacy, as the NRM and the Government trying to show its sovereign power. However, this will only backfire, as the state cannot resolve or abdicate its role to facilitate for NGOs/CSOs, as they do the work the state isn’t able to do and filling in the gaps of the government. That’s why this is tragic, but also obvious.

The NRM and President knows what they are doing. Since this isn’t the first shot or warning even. The state has before also raided several of offices in Kampala. It has done so to intimidate and silence these organizations. That’s why this is just a bureaucratic measure to silence them and finally put the nail in the coffin. Especially, to NGOs who uses their means and organize things in connection to elections and electoral education. It is not the run-of-the-mill organizations fighting poverty or illiteracy who his hit the hardest here.

That’s why you know the drill and the game-plan. They want to signal to the NGOs and CSOs, civil society in general that the government can cease your operation and stop you in your tracks. That is clear here and the only message I’m getting out of this. Peace.

 

Uganda: Ministry of Internal Affairs – Statement on Halting of Operations of Fifty Four (54) NGOs dut to Non-Compliance with the NGO ACT 2016 (20.08.2021)

Uganda: Civil Society Leaders Statement on the Attacks on NGOs (13.12.2020)

On Schedule: Two NGOs targeted ahead of Elections

Before the last General Election in 2016. The authorities raided several of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) headquarters in Kampala. Today, the Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) has frozen two organizations accounts. Claiming these two are financing “terrorism”. However, there is no evidence of this and only the theatrics of the state ahead of the polls.

These two organizations are doing important works where the state is failing to support and help NGOs out. If the state had filled the vacuum and served the needs of the communities. It wouldn’t have need for these too be there and do its work.

Because before dismissing it totally as the political hit-job it is. Let’s look at what the Wougnet and NGO Forum does. The ones FIA is claiming that is working or financing “terrorism”. The terror here … is the attack on these organizations and intimidate them ahead of the polls. That is the ironic thing about this move and isn’t a new trick.

Wougnet:

The Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET) is a non-governmental organisation initiated in May 2000 by several women’s organisations in Uganda to develop the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) among women as tools to share information and address issues collectively. WOUGNET’s vision is a society in which women are empowered through the use of ICTs for sustainable development” (APC – Women of Uganda Network (WOUGNET))

NGO Forum:

The Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF) is an independent and inclusive national platform for NGOs in Uganda. Its primary constituency and owners are NGOs in their diversity and configurations. UNNGOF is however open to other interest groups within a broadly defined civil society” (Uganda Networks – NGO Forum)

If feel with certainty that both organisations aren’t supporting or financing terrorism. As they are not connected or have the mission to support these sort of activities. That Wougnet whose working for empowerment and gender equality is supposed to trade guns to war-zones or militias somewhere. That’s nonsense at best.

The NGO Forum on the other hand is a supporting organizations for other NGOs. To help out and be a supportive organizations for smaller and local NGOs. That isn’t terrorism, but actually doing an important task. As they are helping NGOs across the Republic. As its mission is to “influence governance” and “development processes” which doesn’t sound like terrorism either. Unless, it is a terror for a civil servant or government official to actually do their job. They are supposed be transparent, accountable and deliver government services. However, that is clearly not worthy of this state and it’s deemed “illegal”.

It seems like a political hit-job hitting these two organizations. WOUGNET and UNNGOF seems like unlikely partners or even participating in terrorism anywhere. Unless, it is terror to wish Gender Equality and better Governance. That seems ridiculous… bonkers and foolish. Peace.

A NGO Crackdown: 10,000 invalid by the NGO Bureau!

Today, the Minister of Internal Affairs Gen. Jeje Odongo dropped an list of certified and verified NON-Governmental Organizations in the Republic of Uganda. The whole list was dropped together with the Press Release. Also, a moment of presser, which addressed the same numbers and information.

Clearly, this is important, as there are plenty of folks now, who has to deliver, register and quickly get verified. If not, if the state take them to court and punish them for organizing illegal activity through an non-registered entity. They might get high fines, be incarcerated or if they continue to violate the law. The NGO and the felon will be fined with a huge sum every single day until it ceases to operate.

However, upon verification of the 14,207 registered NGOs since 1989, as at 7th August 2019, it was noted that only 3,810 NGOs (27%) had valid permits while 10,397 (73%) had invalid permits” (Odongo, 13.11.2019).

All NGOs which do not appear on the validated register should not operate. Stakeholders especially the District and Sub-county NGO Monitoring Committees, Financial Intelligence Authority, Uganda Police Force, Banks, Hotels and other actors should cross check the status of any NGO with the register on the website or with the NGO Bureau to ensure that such NGOs do not operate in any part of the country or transact with their institutions” (Odongo, 13.11.2019).

NGO Act (2016) 40 Offence and Penalties:

(1) An organisation or a person commits an offence who-

(a) on being required to do so, fails or refuses to produce to the Bureau a certificate, permit, constitution, charter or other relevant document or information for the purpose of this act;

(b) knowingly gives false or incomplete information for the purpose of obtaining a permit or other requirement;

(c) operates contrary to the conditions or directions specified in its permit; or

(d) engages in activity that is prohibited by this ACT.

(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding seventy two currency points or to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three years or both, and in the case of a continuing offence, to a further fine not exceeding fifteen currency points for each day during which the offence continues after conviction” (NGO Act, 2016).

This means the convicted fellow, who operates without lawful certification from the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) could face fines up to 1,4m Shillings or USD$378, or 72 Currency Points (20,000 shillings). A daily fine could be 400k shillings or USD$108, which is a staggering amount of money.

Well, with that in mind. The NGO Bureau better expect that the Executive Directors or the General Secretaries of various of NGOs has to deliver more documentation and get the ability to get verified. To ensure the down-time and the suspension of activity won’t last to long. If not, they have to become local CBOs, which has other regulations and laws, where the local district and officials there verify and certify any organization. This is something the NGOs whose now illegally operating have to consider.

We can see by the list of organizations verified. It was plenty of national, lots of internationally bound and whose supported from the international community. The NGOs whose big enough and have the capacity was able to be verified by the NGO Bureau. The others whose too small or far from the capital have struggled to secure the certification to do so. The NGO Bureau should also ensure the education of the society and the civil society, which this entails. This is stopping the operation of possible 10,000 organizations. Who now have to do the whole ordeal to be legally operational. Because, if they follow the advice of the honourable minister, then they will cease to operate. But what they should do, if they are viable and working organizations. They would go out there tomorrow and seek documentation, follow the guidelines and work towards getting certified by the NGO Bureau.

That is it folks, but certainly many has maybe just few pieces missing. Others has more work to do. To prove and following the NGO Act of 2016. Whatever it might be, but it got to be something. Peace.

Uganda Police Force – “Press Release on the Alleged Resignation by ASP Muhamad Kirumira, DPC Buyende” (31.01.2018)

Opinion: The UPM’s Aims and Objectives are grand, but did Museveni deliver them?

During the last few days, don’t remember when, but Moses Byamugisha on Social Media showed two pictures, which is a part of the Uganda Patriotic Movement (UPM) Membership Card from 1980. This is the first party of now President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni. It might seem as forgotten past, a past that we should just forgot, but I can’t, it is certain proof of important words and ideas, that still should be worked for. UPM and the agenda that Museveni worked for back-then. Is still worth doing today, even if President Museveni is just working for himself and his cronies. Not working for the betterment of society, that part of him is already gone.

I will first list of the ‘Aims and Objectives’ of the UPM Membership Card. Its 16 points, which seems like points, the Republic still needs and should work for.

16 Points:

1. Unity

2. Democracy

3. National Independence

4. Social Progress

5. Clean Leadership

6. Peace, Security and tranquility

7. Rehabilitation and reconstruction of the nation

8. National Common Language

9. Workers and Peasants participation in the decisions making process of the Party and State machinery

10. Building of a proper defence and security systems

11. Encourage and sustain collective leadership

12. Create condition that will make every citizens have a right to education and medical care

13. Follow and adhere to a policy of a viable mixed autonomy for Uganda

14. Follow a policy of non alignment on a basis of mutual benefits and subscribe to OAU and UN Charters

15. Subscribe to the Basic Human Rights as enshrined in the UN Charter

16. Give moral and material support to the orphans and widows and other victims of the Fascist rule and liberation war

All of this was subtle and good ideas, needed ones that hasn’t lost their power or need. The Republic needs first aim Unity, not only hire and develop the Western parts of Uganda. Just like the troubles of just hiring people from the northern of Uganda under Obote and Amin. Therefore, this is still needed, as the Ankoli and areas around has gotten more and become more important, than the rest of the republic. Bunyoro is getting vital because of coming oil industry. Not because Museveni cares about it deeply.

Second aim, Democracy still needs to be worked upon. By all means because of the Life Presidency, enacted by the National Resistance Movement (NRM). The Second Party of the President, all follows his whip and is non-democratic from the choices of Members of Parliament and their votes. If they don’t follow orders, like voting for life presidency, then they will not only be labeled rebels, but also punished through the party organization. The NRM isn’t democratic, neither is the state. There are lacking democratic decision making and the elections are rigged. Its not the will of the people, but the will of Museveni.

The third aim, don’t need comments, but fourth and fifth needs it. The ‘Social Progress’ and ‘Clean Leadership’. Needs to be address, it is better then back in the day, but having three decades to advance. The NRM should have come much longer, than it has. The Social progress has not evolved, its only for a minority group. Biggest part of society is stagnated and falling behind with unemployment and lack of development. Clean leadership is long gone with Presidential Handshake, pay-off of Members of Parliament, misusing opposition parties and trading position because of loyalty and not merit. Therefore, the NRM have failed with perfection here.

Aim six and seven are questionable at best. ‘Peace, Security and Tranquility’. Peace they do have, but the security and tranquility, not so much. The Security Organizations are more criminal than thieves, they are killers and hired goons themselves. Police are investigated by CMI and UPDF. There are lacking lines and trust to the Courts. The Northern Uganda is done with civil war, but the army has still created uncertainty in Kasese and Rwenzori as they are battling their own. Killings are happening and unsolved by the authorities. Even assassinations of big men within the Security Organization themselves.

The aim eight, ‘National Common Language’ have been effective and worked, as English and Luganda is well-known and most can understand either one or both. The NRM has worked smoothly with this. One of the few things, the NRM actually has achieved. The Uglish is fantastic.

Aim nine, peasants and workers are not really a part of making decisions and taking part of the party. The decisions are made in the State House. It is made by the President and not by Party. The Party is a front and its only there so the President can pay-off his loyal allies. Its seemingly so, when the NRM-O and NRM CEC are made for his best interest. Not to create a better republic.

The tenth aim which is ‘build a proper defence and security systems’. The Military is at its strongest and used as hired mercenaries in Equatorial Guinea and doing United Nations missions in both Somalia and Central African Republic. Its also the main reason for still the current president. He uses the military, because he doesn’t have the popularity. The Security Systems are fragmented and used against each other. Using military intelligence against the police. There is nothing that is certain and you are boggled at how and when something strike. When a crime will be solved and by who.

The eleventh aim to ‘encourage and sustain collective leadership’ is at best questionable at this day and age. The NRM have clearly forgotten this one. They have maybe never worked for this after 1986. That he has talked against sectarian and tribal leadership is well-known, but his achievement is questionable. Since he hasn’t promoted collective leadership, he has promoted his own leadership and the ones loyalty to him without ambition. It is reason why Vice-President Ssekandi are still there and Prime Minister Rugunda are there. They don’t want to get at the king, but if they get ambition to succeed him. Then they get demoted. Check history and you’ll see this.

The twelfth aim for ‘universal education and public health care’. There many more schools under the NRM. Though they are not well-kept or the up-keep is worth mentioning. The literacy rate has been rising in the three decades of rule, but the school system is far from perfect. Since teachers in the districts has side jobs because of lacking salaries, girls skip schools over lacking pads. That was even promised in the General Election of 2016. Still, the NRM haven’t delivered. They promised UPE, but never totally delivered on that promise.

Health care is a place where people are left to die. That is why MPs are getting treatment abroad, the daughters of the President giving birth in Europe. The Health Care is abysmal, lacking medicine, copy medics, X-Rays not working and awaiting between 2013 to 2018 before buying and putting up a new Cancer-Treatment machine. Only one for the millions of citizens of the Republic. There been a blood-drive, because of lacking blood for treatments in the hospitals. The air-machines has gone empty like in Jinja. The NMS hasn’t been able to buy in needed equipment. The Health Care is something the NRM really haven’t delivered anything to be proud of. They have build some buildings called hospitals, but they cannot treat people’s illness there.

The thirteen aim is about autonomy, but that is delivered from the State House. There has been growing amount of districts 118 if my calculation is right. So there has been changes, but it hasn’t given service delivery. Neither or anything visible changes. It is more district centre and more cronies paid-off making the civil service bloated, but not delivering services to the public. So the NRM has delivered dozens of new district and local government entities, but not that they matter. They only matters to the ones who get a paycheck and who is “running” them. But not for the public.

The fourteenth aim is about taking part of African Union and United Nations, the fifteenth aim was also about following their international standards and laws. In the beginning of the NRM rule, as long as he was a part of the new breed of leadership. It was seemingly important to respect international laws and enact those standards. With time this has withered, as he wants to rule on own accord and not let anyone question his reasoning. Therefore, he has become hostile to foreign interference, the ICC and all other who can question his acts and his use of military in foreign countries. Because of the fear of the repression from foreign entities, the former love-affair has become hatred and that has been shown over time.

The sixteenth aim has been done in some instances, that someone has gotten land and gotten measly awards. The State haven’t made functional programs, but more public givings and sudden awards as part of public display together with honors at liberation celebrations. Not really trying to give funds and such. NRM Historicals of all kinds, NRA soldiers and familes, haven’t been compensated, neither has the losers. They have gotten retaliation. So there are many families in disarray and lost of promises.

The whole republic has seen all the empty promises and the prospects of the Museveni era. He has had 32 years to create a state in his vision. The UPM isn’t that far from the 10 Point Program, that I have also dismantled, actually twice.

This here is another proof of how he promise big, but doesn’t deliver. Don’t be surprised, he is all talking big game, but never showing it on the touchline. He might be in the box, but never score. Peace.

Uganda: PM Ruhakana Rugunda letter to Ministers – “Restriction on Clearance of Public Officers to Travel Abroad and Authoriy to Purchase Foreign Exchange (16.01.2018)

Opinion: Besigye launches ‘Tubalemese Campaign’; What about those unfinished ones and will the public be behind him?

I am not a critic of Dr. Kizza Besigye, I am a supporter and a well-wisher of the cause of the man, who is one of the founding men behind, the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) and a hardliner against the President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni regime. This should be well-known, so before you critique me over this, let it be known. I just want the best for the cause and for the total destruction of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) government. That would be golden and the best. To destroy what is there and then rebuild. Since the Ugandan government is rotten to its core and its roots are rotten, because the President want to direct order everything from the State House.

In November 2015 before the General Election of 2016, the then newly elected Presidential Candidate for the FDC, Besigye launched the ‘Defiance Campaign’. A campaign that has been suspended by the authorities, have gotten him house-arrested and also gotten many of his allies detained. This campaign really showed the impunity of the state against the opposition. Also, how much the state uses their resources to take control, instead of actually having a real democracy. The Campaign of Defiance really undressed it once and for all. With all the roadblocks, the closed off stadiums and rallies, all the activity that has been stopped and the live-bullets together with tear-gas. The proof of the impunity can be traced to the Campaign of Defiance, combined with the swearing-in of Besigye as People’s President. As he was taken to Moroto and was charged with treason. A charge he still has to this day and a court case that is still not dismissed.

In May 2017, Besigye launched the ‘My Land My Country’ Campaign against the Constitutional Amendment that was pointed to make it easier for the government to expropriate land for public use or development. A Constitutional Amendment that the President has had a Radio Campaign for late last year, while Besigye himself was blocked from doing similar. This campaign has come on the back-burner as the other Constitutional Amendment and campaigning against that took the most of the energy of the opposition in November and December 2017.

So now in January 2018, the People’s President has launched another Campaign, the Tubalemese, which could be seen as inspiration from the National Super Alliance (NASA) campaigns after the turbulent days after the second presidential election in October 2017. The newly inspired campaign seems like and sounds like what the NASA is doing in Kenya. That meaning FDC is taking advice and following the Odinga paradigm. Since the Besigye plans and former campaigns has not made fruits or made the juice. It has not created a ripple effect. After a while it has died down and nothing sustainable gained.

We cannot see anything significant happen out of the defiance campaign, the momentum and the popularity of Besigye. Didn’t make changes or make it possible for a transition from Museveni. Since the fear of smearing and weapons of the President could hurt the ones who turns against him. Museveni is without mercy and without any of a rebellion. Therefore, as long as the campaigns have been made with half-heartly, he have let them happen and when they are spinning. He uses the police force and the courts to stifle them. That is why its sad to say, at the top of the Defiance campaign, the Besigye leadership and people around him didn’t push it further. They just stopped and let it go.

Besigye lost his traction, the My Land My Country, never really got anywhere and the campaigns haven’t made progress. There been more substance of the giving of foods to Isingiro and other districts, than what the campaign on land could ever gain. The FDC and the newly elected leadership should focus on one campaign, use the newly elected leadership on the front-line together Besigye. Not let him stand there alone in the darkest hour, but support him when the rain start to fall. They are there in the sunshine and when they need his popularity. However, when the darkest hour comes, they flee like insects to find either food or light.

Besigye deserves credit, he deserves support and his persistence and hard-work should be recognized. He has fought for the cause for so long and with such bravado. Not like he has given up or given in. However, Lukwago are there and uses his position. Certain others do to, but there should be more people around to show the respect for the cause. Besigye needs ground support and needs to see the public swing in his favor. The fear of repression has to stop at one point.

If this campaign is no more than a public display and a PR stunt. The public deserves better and Besigye deserves so as well. I want him to succeed. However, so many other campaigns has run into the sand. So much squabble and fighting that has not changed the system or taken away any power for the President.

But we do know if the President and his security agents feels the pressure, the opposition will be arrested on phony charges, his leaders around him too. They will not be allowed to breathe, the Kasangati home will he a prison and he cannot even go out an buy meat at the market. Besigye knows this and the public knows this too. However, if they want Besigye to succeed. They need to stand behind on the barricades, they need to walk with him. Not only in spirit, but in action. Peace.