The concern by Civil Society Organizations comes days after President Yoweri Museveni ordered the suspension of DGF, the single biggest donor basket established by Development Partners to provide harmonized, coherent and well-coordinated support to state and non-state entities in the country.
The suspension of the Democratic
Governance Facility-DGF will throw more than 10,000 Ugandans out of employment,
and affect all efforts to improve governance, promote human rights, fight corruption,
and enhance accountability in Uganda.
The concern by Civil Society Organizations
comes days after President Yoweri Museveni ordered the suspension of DGF, the single
biggest donor basket established by Development Partners to provide harmonized,
coherent and well-coordinated support to state and non-state entities in the
According to President Museveni,
the Ministry of Finance irregularly and unilaterally authorized DGF funding, to
a tune 500 billion Shillings, to be operated exclusively by foreign missions in
Uganda. He says that the approval of DGF operations, without government
oversight, tantamount to surrendering the sovereignty of the people of Uganda
to foreign interests.
But Margaret Ssekajja, the
Director of the Human Rights Centre says that the value of DGF funding cannot
be overstated. She says that the funding pool has been very instrumental in augmenting
the work of both state and non-state actors in Uganda, employing thousands of
people, pacifying the country and building institutions.
Sekajja explains that DGF, which
started as the Deepening Democracy Program has been at the core of the
establishment of the Uganda Human Rights Commission, training of Police, Army
and prisons personnel. Several Government institutions like Parliament, the
Judiciary and a number of Local Governments are supported with funding from
DGF complementing government support.
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Ssekajja says that although the
fund started with state actors, it recently incorporated Civil Society Organizations
many of which are giving a great deal of service to communities across the
country, and adds that the President needs to be furnished with the right
information about the operation of DGF as well as its partners.
Sekajja downplays as baseless,
the president’s accusations of subversion, and shares that before any funding
is released, DGF scrutinizes and follows up the benefiting organizations, which
also have to get a permit from the NGO Bureau, adding that DGF is a victim of
Democratic reversal now experienced in Uganda.
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Godber Tumushabe, of the Great
Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies says that the halting of the funds by
Government is diversionary from the excesses of the just concluded elections.
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Moses Isooba, the Executive
Director of the Uganda National NGO Forum says that the government has been
represented on the board of the Democratic Governance Facility and that that
contrary to the Presidents’ statements, there was adequate supervision of the
fund and its operations.
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Henry Muguzi of the Alliance for Campaign
Finance Monitoring says that it is sad that Uganda cannot fund institutions,
and uses its resources mostly for servicing debts, turns around to fight development
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Xavier Ejoyi, the Executive
Director of Action Aid says that it is strange that with all the Aid Management
Unit that handles issues to do with donors, it is surprising to say that the
funding is not known by an institution of the government.
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Mercy Munduru, a program manager
at Action Aid says the government should actually do a thorough investigation
and release a report on the alleged subversive activities.
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The CSO’s were addressing a press
conference at the Royal Suites in Bugolobi, today.