Speaking on Wednesday at the launch of a book titled, Civil Society in Uganda at Hotel Africana, the Minister for Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo says that the level of suspicion is high, which has led to the closure of some offices of CSOs, interdiction of CSO leaders and freezing of bank accounts.
The Government is forced to interfere in the operations of Civil
Society Organisations-CSOs because their activities are suspicious.
Speaking on Wednesday at the launch of a book titled, Uganda's Civil
Society: History, Challenges and Prospects at Hotel Africana, the Minister for Internal Affairs Jeje Odongo
says that the level of suspicion between civil society organizations and the NGO Board is high which has led to the closure of some offices
of CSOs, interdiction of CSO leaders and freezing of bank accounts.
//Cue in: "If you recollect...
Cue out: ...to take place"//
Last year, the government banned the activities of NEW-U, an election
observers’ loose coalition of more than 50 NGOs for allegedly operating
The bank accounts of the National NGO Forum, a membership
organization with over 650 organizations and Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET),
an entity that brings together 20 Women’s Rights Organizations and nine
individual activists were also frozen for allegedly engaging in money laundering and
funding subversive activities.
Odongo admitted that there is friction between the government and
civil society, but said that the government is committed to improving its
working relationship with CSOs.
He also said that there is a need to
appreciate the role of the CSOs in the country.
Odongo thanked the authors of the book, Arthur Larok and John De Coninck for providing information about CSOs activities. He said the books should be distributed
to different government agencies.
He committed to hold periodic meetings with members
from the Civil Society to discuss their work.
The Executive Director of Center for Constitutional Sarah Bireete
says they have held several meetings with the authorities but the government
continues to shrink the civic space.
Bireete says the government is comfortable with Civil Society Organizations that focus on service delivery like poverty alleviation programs
and extending safe water to the communities but are hostile to CSOs focused on
accountability, governance and democracy.
Bireete says that the government needs to act under the law when
dealing with the activities of CSOs.
//Cue in: "If you look...
Cue out: ...of the law"//
The Spokesperson of the National Unity Platform- NUP Joel
Ssenyonyi, who also attended the book launch, says the government needs to
appreciate positive criticism from members of the Civil Society and the