Uganda Resident District Commissioners to closely monitor activities of all NGOs

The Ugandan government has issued a directive to Resident District Commissioners across the country to closely monitor activities of all Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in their areas of jurisdiction and report accordingly.

The directive is embedded in a circular from the Ministry of Internal Affairs signed by the Minister General Aronda Nyakairima. It is copied to all Resident District Commissioners-RDCs and Chief Administrative Officers-CAOs.

General Aronda Nyakairima says the move follows public concern on the negative operations of some NGOs in the country.
He further notes that government has opted to utilize services of RDCs and the CAOs in response to prior information by volunteers regarding sinister activities of some NGOs’ which are unknown to the NGO board.

Simon Peter Nabendeh, the Bulambuli Resident District Commissioner says the move is to ensure some hostile NGOs are purged.Nabendeh claims that government has reports to the effect that some NGOs have been funding the activities of some political organizations against the government. Without listing any, Nabendeh says government wants to get rid of such NGOs.

Rev. Fr. Simon Lokodo, the State Minister for Ethics and Integrity says some NGOs submit to government very good activity work plans, but contradict government agenda in execution of their duties.
However, civil society officials and human rights activists fear the directive could be one of the ways that government want to use to silence critics and erode civil society.
An official from CARDNO, a contractor implementing a USAID funded project ‘Strengthening Decentralization for Sustainability –SDS program, says the directive would hamper the operations of NGOs in Uganda.
The official who declined to be named for fear of being victimized says this is rather restrictive than facilitative in championing the development agenda.
Another official working with the Mbale based ‘Action for Hunger’ NGO says ultimately they fear that the directive may render it very difficult for NGOs, who provide critical analysis and checks and balances for the sitting government to function properly. He says that it could also lead to a dwindling number of civil society organizations
He says this will eventually be detrimental to allowing the voice and free expressions of the population living in rural and remote areas to be heard.

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About

Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) is a Community Based Organisation, established in 2011, Reg No. WCBO/1253/11, found by former drug users, to provide a national platform and reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with “drug use”. We further seek to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for Drug Users (IDUs, Sex Workers and Youth) in Uganda in partnerships with other stakeholders as we strive for victory. Vision: “A Ugandan society that reorganizes and protects the health, social, economic and human rights of drug users”. Mission: “To reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with drug use to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for drug users in Uganda. Objectives: We work to: • Promote access to cancer screening, psychosocial support and comprehensive care (HIV, SRHR, TB, and Hepatitis B and C treatment). • Organize and equip drug users whose rights have been violated to take responsibility of their health, social, economic wellbeing and sustainability through economic empowerment trainings and functional adult literacy programmes. • Document and expose human rights violations against drug users and call for legal protection and engage in policy reforms on laws that negatively impact on drug users. • Build partnership, synergy and develop the leadership capacity of drug users to take charge of their program. • Promote the health, social economic and human rights of “drug users” in Uganda irrespective of their social, economic, academic, cultural or political background. • Promote safer sex education such as condom use, needle and syringe exchange program, comprehensive care and mechanism on how to deal with issues of overdose, trafficking and violence against drug users. • Call for an enabling environment and strengthen partnerships towards “drug users”. Core values for UHRN: The driving forces that guide all actions and practices in UHRN are:- • Social justice, protection and recognition in society • Love and respect for one another. • Support and care for one another • Honesty in all our undertakings • Empathy for each other as drug users • Sharing the available resources.

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