Oxfam's reactive on the halting of the operations of 54 NGOs
On 20th August 2021, Uganda National Bureau for Non – Governmental Organisations (NGO Bureau) a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Internal Affairs; mandated to register, regulate, monitor, inspect, coordinate, and oversee all NGO operations in the country, released a communication on its website halting operation of 54 NGOs for allegedly not complying with the NGO Act 2016.
It said the measures on the impacted organisations were taken in response to violation of several regulations, including operating with expired permits, failing to file annual returns and audited books of accounts, or failing to register with the authorities. The implementation of this directive takes immediate effect according to the statement by Stephen Okello, the Executive Director of the Bureau.
The development is of deep concern to Oxfam as we work hand in hand with local and national Organisations that have made and continue to make significant contributions in the fight against inequality. We would like to call on the identified organisations to fulfil their obligations and comply with the regulations to ensure continuity of the critical work they have been doing in the various spaces.
We call on the Uganda National Bureau for NGOs through the Ministry of Internal affairs to provide sufficient notice/ and or fair hearing of the affected organisations before halting their operations as this has immediate direct implications on the communities they serve. It is also important that NGOs are allowed an opportunity to engage with the Bureau and respond before a definite decision is made. This is in line with section 7(2) of the NGO Act, 2016 which provides organisations a right to be heard before a decision is taken.
We, therefore, call on the Uganda National Bureau for NGOs to work collaboratively with the affected organisations to amicably resolve the matters, recognising the critical role NGO’s have in the development of this country.