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.