By Francis Emorut
Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) have rejected the NGO Bill 2015 saying they are religious institutions which should not be bound by it.
The Bill according to reliable sources is to be tabled by Parliamentary committee on defence and internal affairs for the second reading this week. It requires the FBOs to register as Non-Governmental Organizations.
"The Church is an institution of divine nature. It's very painful to be required to register as NGO," Rev. Fr. Dimitrios Sseruganda of Uganda Orthodox Church said.
City advocate Peter Magelah explained that the Church had no option apart from putting its efforts together to demand for registration as a separate entity.
"What matters is how you registered and not what you call yourself. This Bill affects," Magelah said.
Sseruganda pointed out that Churches should be excluded from the Bill and have separate registration.
"The Church is 'holy' we need separate registration," he said.
The cleric warned lawmakers not to pass the law in its current form as it will stifle freedom of association.
"MPs since you are daughters and sons of the Church you should take care and not pass the Bill in its current form.
Pastor Robert Kyeyune wondered why there was need to come up with new law regarding NGOs.
"Why is the old Act being repealed?" Kyeyune asked.
City advocate, Peter Magelah (left) talks to Samuel Ogutu (right), the general secretary of Uganda Christian Action Network and Andrew Lugolobi, Bishop of Born again faith during the consultative meeting on NGO Bill at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala.
According Kyeyune the proposed piece of legislation lacks some background information and that is why it was receiving a lot of resistance.
The religious leaders made the remarks during consultative meeting on NGO Bill 2015 at Pope Paul Memorial Hotel in Kampala on Tuesday.
The consultative meeting hosted by Global Rights Alert in conjunction with Inter Religious Council of Uganda was aimed at gathering views of religious leaders that should be included in the proposed law.
James Muhindo the project officer of Global Rights Alert explained that civil society organizations were not against being regulated but when the law is being prohibitive they have a right to object it.
"It's not that we are not interested in being regulated but when it becomes repressive, it's our duty to object it when it is passed in its current form," Muhindo said.
The FBOs resolved that specific provisions for registration of Churches should be put in place and rejected clause 2 of the Bill which stipulates that the commencement of the Act comes into force on a date appointed by the minister.
They argued that this is usurping powers of Parliament which is mandated to make laws.
"It should be a duty of Parliament to determine when a law should come into force as set by the Constitution," Magelah explained.
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