Uganda Dictator Museveni Bans Scores of NGOs Including Opiyo’s Chapter Four

Ugandan despot Museveni
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Ugandan dictator Museveni. Photo: Facebook

Gen. Yoweri Museveni’s dictatorship in Uganda issued a letter suspending scores of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that starts: “The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is mandated to register, regulate, monitor, inspect, coordinate and oversee all NGO operations in the Uganda. As a result of its monitoring and investigation functions the NGO Bureau has found that 54 NGOs are non-compliant with the NGO Act 2016…”

Fifty NGOs were immediately suspended for “non-compliance” with “regulations” that supposedly included registration. 

One of the most prominent NGO suspended is human and constitutional rights group Chapter Four, led by lawyer Nicholas Opiyo.  

Although Uganda’s government is becoming increasingly intolerant of divergent thinking that doesn’t confirm with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) ideology, whatever that maybe, we must look at this latest example of high-handedness as more drastic due to a wider context. 

The ethos of the state and that of non-state actors such as NGOs have been at cross-purposes severally over the years due to a matter of perspective. The state, the world over, sees non-state actors as supplementary presences which are supposed to compliment instead of contradict its activities. And NGOs, inversely, see the state’s activities in precisely the same light when it comes to things like good governance, human rights and democracy. 

So the two bulls in a kraal phenomenon thus takes hold as both state and non-state actors seek the position of primus inter pares with regard to extending the frontiers of their shared yet disparate remits. 

Of course every government’s legitimate fear is the state being rolled back into oblivion and thereby the possibility of external control, under the cover of NGOs, creating at best a condominium arrangement (two countries running one state) and, at worst, a reversion to colonial rule. 

Two, states the world over are ramping up repressive measures cloaked in coronavirus-related regulations. 

In Uganda, the repression by the state increased significantly following Uganda’s first national lockdown, across both opposition and pro-government districts. 

At first, varying districts experienced varying degrees of repression. 

Then the Bobi Wine Phenomenon matured into electoral victories across the country. That’s when the lockdown, first announced in March 2020, somewhat evened out the degree of repression in Uganda across districts that were strongholds of Gen. Museveni and those which aren’t.

So we suddenly saw a shift. 

Gen. Museveni, upon realizing he was no longer as popular as he was assumed to be, ramped up the COVID-19 regulations, banning the use of public transportation and restricting commerce and any public gatherings. 

Anything, really, which put Ugandans in the same as their growing dissent.  

This, the Bobi Wine Phenomenon, also paved the way towards other repressive measures such as the new social media law in which 3.40 million social media users are not allowed to share “fake” news.

Chris Baryomunsi the Minister of Information, Communications Technology, and National Guidance (a position which eerily sounds like Joseph Goebbels’s Minister of Public Enlightenment docket during the Nazi regime) announced this Gestapo measure yesterday. 

In a country in which the state has retreated into a tin-horn dictatorship which is hell-bent on subjugating its people through a lamentable catalogue of rights abuses which impinge upon our political and economic rights, we need NGOs to step into the void and do what government has abdicated to do. 

True, NGOs might replace the state but this is okay when there is not state. 

All we have in Uganda is a predatory regime determined to steer each policy and idiocy upon the path turned towards a collision course between Gen. Museveni and his people. 

It is clear that the work of NGOs is to save us from ourselves, so they are more important now than ever. 

No one pretends that NGOs are perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that NGO may provide the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried.

Columnist Matogo can be reached via mugashop74@gmail.com 


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