By Umaru Kashaka
KAMPALA - Legislators on the defence and internal affairs committee have accused non-governmental organizations (NGOs) operating in the country of being dishonest and getting resources from abroad to engage in illegal activities.
In Uganda, NGOs work in areas of service delivery, supplementing the government while others focus on advocacy with a general aim of improving the legal, policy and institutional framework of the country.
While meeting officials from internal affairs ministry led by Gen Aronda Nyakairima over the ministry’s budget framework paper for financial year 2014/15 on Wednesday, the MPs noted that some NGOs come with an intention of promoting the social, economic development, but end up fueling social vices such as homosexuality and pornography.
“Many of these NGOs are exploiting our people,” Kaabong Woman MP Rose Lilly Akello spoke out.
“For instance, the ACF which made people in my area to do food for assets work for a period of six months and failed to pay them according to the terms of the service they discussed. We had to intervene, but all in vain,” she said.
The MP wondered how far the Police had gone in handling the matter of Makerere University Walter Reed Project which was accused of promoting homosexuality.
Col. Phinehas Katirima (UPDF MP) noted that there is a need to limit the number of NGOs coming to Uganda because they have become too many and also assess their performance to the economy.
“It’s going to be an uphill task to monitor the operations of over 12,000 NGOs. As a way of reducing the speed at which they come here, we should hike fees and also assess their contributions at the end of the day to the economy. Some of their activities are suspicious,” he stated.
Kapelebyong County MP Peter Eriaku urged the ministry to expedite the tabling of the NGO amendment Act, 2006 which will help the government to have control over the NGOs.
“The law will help us to deal with them. Some are engaging in political activities and you wonder whether they are political parties or not. Let’s fast-track the amendments and all this will be solved,” he said.
'They sleep in five-star hotels'
The legislators noted that there are certain NGOs that get resources from abroad to help people in Uganda but in reality, they consume that money and make it a luxury out here.
“Some NGOs that are supposed to be working in Karamoja for instance are in Kampala and their members are sleeping in five-star hotels,” they said.
Gen Nyakairima told the committee that the decision by donors to channel funding through NGOs has increased the influence of these organisations, most of which are involved in illegal and subversive activities.
“This has direct bearing on the country’s macroeconomic stability and on peace and security, said Kigulu South MP, Milton Muwuma.
He told the committee that the NGO Board requires logistical and infrastructure to enable it conduct its pivotal role.
The acting secretary to the NGO Board, Francis Wayima, called for additional sh4b to be able to strengthen the existing non-tax revenue collection mechanisms at national, regional and district levels in order to realize close to sh10b.
“The implementation of the NGO policy 2010 and the new NGO amendment Act requires an extra sh1.3b,” he said.