Dialogue between CSO and Minister of Internal Affairs
NGO LEADERS’ MEETING WITHTHE MINISTER OF INTERNAL AFFAIRS, HON. OBIGA KANIA TO DISCUSS PERTINENT ISSUES RELATING TO THE HEALTH AND OPERATING ENVIRONMENT OF NGOS IN UGANDA
On 27th August, 2019, The Human Rights Centre Uganda in partnership with the National Bureau for Non Governmental Organisations and Uganda National NGO Forum organised a Dialogue meeting to discuss pertinent issues relating to the health and operating environment of NGOs and the NGO Sub sector in Uganda. The meeting was attended by a number of targeted stakeholders such as representatives from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Ministry of Local Government, Uganda Police Force, International NGOs and Development Partners, Financial Intelligence Authority, District Network Leaders, among others.
A Paper on key issues or concerns of NGOs was presented by the Executive Director of the NGO Forum, Mr. Richard Sewakiryanga tow which responses were given by the NGO Bureau and other key government agencies and the State Minister of Internal Affairs, Hon. Obiga Kania.
Among the key concerns were the proposal by government to merge State agencies and the impact this would have on NGOs; the need to implement the requirement to establish the District NGO Monitoring Committees (DNMCs); selection of the NGO representatives on the DNMCS; illegal fees collection from NGOs by Local Government; difficulties in acquiring MOUs from Local Governments; continuous NGO Break-ins and the failure to produce investigations findings or reports; Tensions between NGOs, RDCs and Security agencies; Uncoordinated State intercations with the NGO Sector; the short time period allocated for NGOs validation and; the need to have an annual Sector Review.
The key outcomes from the meeting were:
• A commitment by the Minister to continue having quarterly dialogue meetings between the Minister and the NGO Sub sector leaders;
• The need to have the dialogue meetings at district level as well;
• NGOs should always comply with the set legal requirements for instance to undergo the validation exercise within the allocated timeline;
• NGO Desks would be opened within different line Ministries and Departments of Government such as the Directorate of Criminal Investigations; Uganda Police Force; Office of the President; Ministry of Local Government; among others;
• Communication had already been sent by the Ministry of Local Government to all District Accounting Officers to operationalise the District NGO Monitoring Committees.
• NGOs should continue working closely with the District Authorities and also harmonise their budgets with those of the district activities.
• The proposal to have an NGO Annual Sub Sector Review was fully embraced by the stakeholders.
• NGO Leaders should always feel free to approach and interact with the relevant Authorities such as the Uganda Police Force, Financial Intelligence Authority, the National NGO Bureau and many others so as to avoid suspicion and working with/on false information.
• NGOs working on civil and political rights and electoral reforms should organise themselves for a separate meeting with the Minister where the subject of electoral reforms shall be discussed in detail.