KAMPALA - A total of 149 Non-governmental organisations have demanded an explanation from the government over the continued office break-in on their premises.
The NGOs say it is paralyzing their operations in the country.
Under their umbrella National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRDU), the NGOs disclosed that at least 34 office break-ins were reported since 2011, but no report from the police investigations has been presented.
Some of the NGOs that have been affected include Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum, whose offices were broken into and the guard Emmanuel Alituha killed in 2014.
Others include the Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Anti-Corruption Coalition-Uganda, Action for Community Development, Human Rights Network, Sexual Minorities-Uganda, and Human Rights Network for Journalists. Also affected is Eco-Pad and Kadama Widows Association located in Ntinda, which were also broken into recently.
NCHRDU executive director Robert Kirenga said the wave of break-ins has affected mostly Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) specializing in protecting human rights.
Following the break-ins property including confidential documents and computers have been stolen.
“We urge the government through its different agencies to ensure that conclusive reports that clearly indicate who was behind the breakings are availed to us because break-ins are still going on,” Kirenga said.
Kirenga revealed that last year police confirmed that the investigations into the break-ins were concluded and persons interested in the reports were supposed to write to the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for permission to access them.
However, when affected NGOs wrote to the IGP in 2017, they were told that the matter had been referred to the ministry of foreign after donors protested about the matter to the government.
Police spokesperson Fred Enanga or his deputy Polly Namaye were not available for comment. However, when contacted Patrick Mugoya, he said he was unaware of NGOs claims.
“If the police have been carrying out investigations about break-ins, I don’t see how Foreign Affairs comes in,” he said.
Christopher Emanzi, the programme director Global Rights Alert said they also want the government to address what he called the increased clamp down on NGO activities in the country.
He revealed that NGOs in the Albertine region are restricted from operating in some areas and some of them were facing intimidation and threats of closure.
“As we move to sensitize people on land compensation, state agents continue to be inquisitive on who is building the capacity of the locals,” he said.