By Faith Nyasuguta
Uganda has dismissed operations of some 54 Non-Governmental Organisations in a move some have dubbed a “political persecution”.
Authorities revealed that the dismissals followed a range of reasons, including non-compliance with guidelines that require the organizations not to be involved in politics.
“We have halted their operations,” Steve Okello, the NGO board chairman, a government body that moderates all charities in the nation said.
Among the affected NGOs are charities that work to defend the rights of political activists and those affected by a crude oil production project in Western Uganda. Their work has irked state authorities.
For years now, incumbent president Yoweri Museveni’s government has been piling pressure on NGOs, alleging that some have been backing the opposition.
“This is political persecution. When you do work that they don’t like, you become their enemy number 1. We’ll challenge their decision in court,” Dickens Kamugisha, the head of Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) said.
For a while now, the governance institute has been promoting the rights of those affected by the crude oil development project.
AFIEGO has been among the charities campaigning against the suggested East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project, revealing its potential effect on the climate.
In 2020, police held up a state critic doubling as the head of one of the organizations, Chapter Four Uganda, dismissed over money laundering accusations on Friday.
In the organization’s view, the arrest was part of a crackdown on dissent before elections the next month. It dismissed the allegations.
Since he got into power in 1986, Museveni has been accused by a fraction of Western governments, local opposition, and international pressure groups of using security authorities to harass and scare opponents, critics and right activists.
The NGO Board indicated that Chapter Four Uganda among other NGOs suspended indefinitely had not filed annual returns and missed to audit books of accounts.
Since its birth, Chapter Four has been a watchdog defending leaders, supporters of the opposition parties held for politically tied issues.