The Minister of State for Internal Affairs Hon Mario Obiga Kania ordered all Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that do not appear on the validated register of NGO Bureau to cease operations.
On August 7th 2019, the minister of Internal Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo informed all NGOs that there would be a one month re registration/ validation exercise for all NGOs with valid permits which commenced on 8th August 2019 and closed on 7th September 2019.
The exercise was conducted by national NGO Bureau which is a semi-autonomous entity under Ministry of Internal Affairs as established under the NGO Act 2016.
Today, Kania announced that the NGO Bureau shall publish the new validation national NGO register on the ministry website and noted that all NGOs that don’t appear on the register should stop operating.
“Stakeholders especially the district and sub county NGO monitoring committees, financial intelligence authority, Uganda Police Force, Banks, Hotels and other actors should cross check the status of any NGO with the register on the website or with NGO Bureau to ensure that such NGOs do not operate in any part of the country or transact with their institutions,” he said
The minister however said NGOs that did not validate by close of the validation deadline but are in possession of a valid NGO permit should proceed with the NGO Bureau and fill an Information Request Form (IRF) before being added onto the validated database.
However, those that partially or incorrectly filled the validation forms during the exercise have been identified by the NGO Bureau and letters requesting them to submit the missing or incorrect data within a specified period will be sent to them.
Although many critiques of the exercise said it was intended to identify NGOs that support opposition politicians in Uganda, the minister said the purpose was to build a reliable and credible data bank of information on all NGOs operating in Uganda, help determine any meaningful relationships, corrections and variations in the data between NGO Bureau and districts and enable the Bureau to produce a validated register for NGOs operating in the country.
The entire exercise had initially begun in November 2018 with NGO Bureau internally verifying information on NGOs from its registry and database before they were instructed to re-register.
At the commencement of verification and validation exercise in November 2018, the national NGO Bureau register had indicated that there were 14,207 registered NGOs of which 12,809 were indigenous, 803 foreign, 439 International, 85 regional, and 71 continental.
In terms of response during the re – registration exercise between 8th August and 7th September 2019, Kania said many International NGOs quickly responded to the exercise and were first to be validated while indigenous ones relaxed expecting an extension of deadline of exercise which didn’t happen.
The concerns raised by NGOs during validation exercise include, short period of time (one month) given, lack of reliable internet services by NGOs in rural areas since the exercise had to be done online, lack of basic IT skills by some NGOs, lack of required information and documents such as NGO permit, certificate of registration, certificate of incorporation which were required to undertake the process among others.