Following the government’s concern about their operations, a group of civil society organizations has spoken out.
They distance themselves from government claims of being the funders of protests that destabilize the country’s peace.
“We substantiate claims by the government as members working in and associated with civil society fraternity in Uganda, we are apalled by the statement made by the president of the Republic of Uganda and his government ministers referring to Non-Governmental Organizations and Civil Society Organizations in general as hooligans and agents of falling interests.” Said, Apollo Kakonge – ED, Western Ankole Civil Society Forum.
“They need to know that if NGOs put all their money to support insurrection the government would have a big problem. We are not interested in such a thing, we don’t raise public resources to do that, we are actually part of these demonstrations, nobody is funding it from somewhere, and we are part of it.” Said, Arthur Larok – Federation Development Director, Action Aid.
However, the government Spokesperson Ofwono Opondo tasked the CSOs to reveal the source of their funding to clear the suspicions surrounding their operations.
“The government has insisted and will enforce that the CSOs should be accountable in the things they do, the sources of funding, the way they spend their money.That’s the only issue between the government and the CSOs.” Said, Ofwono Opondo – Government Spokesperson.
In his letter to the Speaker of Parliament, President Museveni accused some NGOs of being agents of foreign imperialists a matter that angered the organizations.
“The assertion that NGOs receive funding from donors to finance their interventions, in some way makes them agents of foreign interests as not only disingenuous but also dishonest.” Said, Apollo Kakonge – ED, Western Ankole Civil Society Forum.
“So, I think the first culprit to be called a foreign agent is our government. We even have our sensitive security sectors funded by foreigners.” Said, Sarah Bireete – Centre for Constitutional Governance.
Arthur Larok of Action Aid International disagreed with Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s lawyer Robert Amsterdam who recently called for sanctions toward the Ugandan government.
“And I don’t think we can call for open-ended economic sanctions because at the end of the day, its ordinary citizens of the country that suffer.
And we have learned it from many countries. And it can sometimes be used as a scape board as Mugabe did in Zimbabwe to simply blame everything on the sanctions.” Said, Arthur Larok – Federation Development Director, Action Aid.
The CSOs also criticized the alleged militarization of the country’s politics. “Today, we are seeing the army taking a leading role and exactly performing the same thing. So ours is to put him to account, who is who, who is using the army?
The militarization of politics has become a key weakening factor for democracy in Uganda.” Said, Benson Ocen – ED, Public Affairs Centre of Uganda.
“Would Ugandans, would the CSOs want the mobsters to burn the roads, obstruct traffic, and obstruct business in Kampala?
Our constitution obliges the UPDF when called upon when the Police are unable or feels insufficient; invites and calls upon other security agencies.” According to them, the separation of power of government organs should be respected to realize the true meaning of democracy. Said, Ofwono Opondo – Government Spokesperson.