Government is considering de-registering NGOs that engage in negative political activism.
BY PASCAL KWESIGA
Government is considering deregistering international and local NGO's that have consistently engaged in what it called "negative political activism" to render the country ungovernable, the internal affairs minister has disclosed.
Hilary Onek has said the activities of some NGOs that seek to destabilize the country at such a time when its administrators are trying to restore it to the path of democracy following the past decades of dictatorships are unacceptable.
"This a critical moment and NGOs that are portraying us as those dictatorial regimes of Amin are going to be weeded out. They want to destabilize the country because that is what they are paid to do," Onek said.
At the launch of the Global week of action against armed violence in Kampala yesterday, the minister said that a number of NGO's that are fermenting negative political activism with assistance from "enemies of the current regime" from abroad yet hiding behind humanitarian work. He however refused to name the NGOs.
He added that NGO's operating in Uganda should be purely engaged in humanitarian and charity work for which they were registered, adding that no NGO was licensed by government to conduct political activism.
"Those that are engaged in activities for which they were not registered are in trouble. They are busy stabbing the government in its back yet they are supposed to do humanitarian work," Onek explained.
The minister said those who are dissatisfied with government should compete openly with NRM in the periodic elections instead of seeking to destabilize the country through charity organizations.
"I don't want to see this country sliding back into anarchy and I would not like any Ugandan to live into exile because I know what it means," Onek said.
He said the government was still waiting for international apology from global organizations, Oxfam and Uganda Land Alliance (ULA) for a damning report which carried allegations that over 20,000 people had been evicted from a government-owned forest in Mubende and Kiboga districts to pave way for a British forestry company.
Oxfam in a report published last September claimed that residents said government security forces enforced the evictions, setting fire to homes and crops and in some cases beating and imprisoning people during an eviction that was allegedly carried out last year.
"We still need an apology to the president and the people of Uganda. If they don't we shall consider our next course of action," Onek said.
The minister disclosed government plans to review laws on small arms and light weapons to provide for harsh penalties against offenders. He however observed that there is need for all East African countries to adopt uniform laws on small arms and light weapons to curtail their movement across the region.
The state minister for internal affairs, James Baba noted that as all countries in the world gear up for the negotiations on the proposed arms treaty in New York next month, African countries need to find a common position on the problem that would be presented at the summit.
"We are not the ones who make weapons but they are used on us most. We need a common voice at the summit so that we can curtail this lethal trade in the region," he said.
He said the governments and members of the civil society across the globe would spend this week raising awareness and rejuvenate the campaign to eliminate armed violence.
Ahmed Wafuba, the coordinator national focal point on small arms said they would spend the week talking to victims of gun violence and raising awareness on how it can be combated.
Govt gets tough on NGOs