Uganda: Africa Institute for Energy Governance – Statement on Arrest of Afiego Staff (23.10.2021)
I write what I like.
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.
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.
“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))
“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.