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Why Uganda’s NGO Bureau has suspended operations of 54 NGOs

Chapter Four’s Nicholas Opiyo with the US Ambassador Natalie E. Brown December 18, 2020. The NGO he works for has also been suspended

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations-NGO Bureau has suspended the operations of 54 NGOs.

According to the Executive Director of the NGO Bureau Stephen Okello, they conducted investigations which revealed that 23 NGOs are operating with expired permits, 15 failed to file annual returns and audited books of accounts while 16 were operating without registering with the bureau.

The NGO Act requires all NGOs to register with the NGO Bureau, acquire and renew their permits annually to continue operations and also file their annual and audited books of account with the NGO Bureau. The Bureau is mandated to register, regulate, monitor, inspect, coordinate and oversee all NGO operations in the country.

Okello says the NGOs have been non-complaint and hence ordered that they halt their operations immediately.

The NGOs whose operations have been halted for operating without a valid permit include the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF), Citizens’ Concerns Africa, Elohim Power Transforming Africa, Orone Foundation and Light Concepts.

The others include; Public Policy Institute, Otubet Youth United Development Organization, Support Girl Child Uganda, Saints Preparation Ministries, Adoration Ministries, Islamic Da-awah and Orphanage Foundation, Jesus Shines Youth Ministries International, La Borne Missionary Centre Uganda, Wanyange Child Support Foundation and Francis Foundation for the Poor.

The list includes Ray of Hope International Uganda, Mindset Change Development Organisation, Liberty International Foundation, Foundation for Women Empowerment for Sickler Aid, Karambi Action for Life Improvement, Tech Plus Love Foundation and Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations.

Stephen Okello, the Executive Director of the NGO Bureau.

Those suspended indefinitely due to failure to consistently file annual returns and audited books of accounts are Chapter Four Uganda, a human rights organization, Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), Femrite Uganda Women Writers’ Association, African Humanitarian Action, Safe Places Uganda Foundation (SPU), Citizens Platform for Democracy and Accountability, Growth Networks Uganda and Pallisa Civil Society Organisation Networks.

Others are Citizens Election Watch-IT (CEW-I1), Youth Line Forum, Arise Africa International and Dotwa Africa, Rwenzori Consortium for Civic, Centre for Conflict Resolution, Youth Equality Centre.

NGOs whose operations have been halted for operating without registering with the NGO Bureau are Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS), Rural Action Community Based Organization, Uganda Help Florida, Centre for Sustainability Innovation and Research, Environmental Governance Institute Uganda, Graffen Organization, Butimba Uganda, Kwataniza Women’s Organization, Twimukye Women’s Organization, Witness Radio Uganda and Youth for Green Communities.

Others are Self-worth Initiative, VZW Eight, Adepr Pentecostal International Church Uganda Ltd, Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action (IDEA), Network for Active Citizens and Leadership Square Africa.

According to Okello, local governments and security agencies should help the Bureau and enforce the suspension. He also asked local government leaders to file an inventory of NGOs operating in their areas to the bureau to monitor them for compliance with the law.

Diana Nabiruma, the senior communications officer at AFIEGO says their organization is registered with the Uganda Registration Services Bureau-URSB as a non-profit making company.

She however adds that there have been several attempts by the government to discredit the organisation and that the Financial Intelligence Authority-FIA has often attempted to investigate their bank accounts on trumped-up allegations.

The Executive Director of Chapter Four Nicholas Opiyo says that he is surprised by the actions of the NGO Bureau.  He says that the organization has always filed their annual returns and that they are working with the authorities to clarify what they believe is a misunderstanding.

“We’ll be writing to the National Bureau for NGOs reminding them of documents filed with them and other authorities in Jan this year. We have always acted above board and repudiate any representation of unlawful conduct on our part ”Opio said.

Godber Tumushabe, the Executive Director of GLISS says that his organization is a policy think tank registered as a company limited by guarantee. He says the NGO Bureau only wrote to them today informing them that they are operating as an NGO.

Tumushabe says GLISS chooses how it should be registered and has no business knowing what activities are conducted by NGOs.

He describes the acts of the NGO Bureau as harassment that has been escalating over the years aided by the government.

“Every regime that has been in power for 20, 30 years operates the same way, they disrupt civic activity, they co-opt religious institutions to become part of the patronage network, and they undermine business. They all operate the same way, nobody should be surprised with what is happening because Museveni and his group have been in power for more than 25 years now,” Tumushabe said.

Charity Ahimbisibwe, the coordinator of CCEDU referred the URN reporter to their lawyer Anthony Masake. When contacted, Masake said they will be issuing a statement soon and declined to comment further.

Suspended NGOs

1. Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO)

2. Western Ankole Civil Society Forum (WACSOF)

3. Citizens’ Concerns Africa

4. Elohim Power Transforming Africa

5. Orone Foundation

6. Light Concepts

7. Public Policy Institute

8. Otubet Youth United Development Organization

9. Support Girl Child Uganda

10. Saints Preparation Ministries

11. Adoration Ministries

12.Islamic Da-awah and Orphanage Foundation

13. Jesus Shines Youth Ministries International

14.La Borne Missionary Centre Uganda

15. Wanyange Child Support Foundation

16.St. Francis Foundation for the Poor

17. Ray of Hope International Uganda

18. Mindset Change Development Organisation

19. Liberty International Foundation

20. Foundation for Women Empowerment for Sickler Aid

21. Karambi Action for Life Improvement

22. Tech Plus Love Foundation

23. Centre for Justice Studies and Innovations

24. Chapter Four Uganda 2016- 2020

25. Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) 2019-

2020

26. Femrite Uganda Women Writers’ Association 2017- 2020

27. African Humanitarian Action 2017 – 2020

28. Safe Places Uganda Foundation (SPU) 2017- 2020

29. Citizens Platform for Democracy and Accountability 2017- 2020

30. Growth Networks Uganda 2017- 2020

31. Pallisa Civil Society Organisation Networks 2017- 2020

32. Citizens Election Watch-IT (CEW-I1) 2017, 2019, 2020

33. Youth Line Forum Uganda 2017- 2020

34. Arise Africa International 2018-2020

35. Dotwa Africa 2018-2020

36. Rwenzori Consortium for Civic Competence 2018-2020

37. Centre for Conflict Resolution 2019 – 2020

38. Youth Equality Centre 2019-2020

39. Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS)

40. Rural Action Community Based Organization

41. Uganda Help Florida

42. Centre for Sustainability Innovation and Research

43. Environmental Governance Institute Uganda

44. Graffen Organization, Butimba Uganda

45. Kwataniza Women’s Organization

46. Twimukye Women’s Organization

47. Witness Radio Uganda

48. Youth for Green Communities

49. Self-worth Initiative

50. VZW Eight

51. Adepr Pentecostal International Church Uganda Ltd

52. Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action (IDEA)

53. Network for Active Citizens

54. Leadership Square Africa

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URN

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