Ugandan President Museveni Has Signed the Perilous Anti NGO Bill

Melanie Nathan | Oblogdeeoblogda | February 22, 2016  

Warning: Every organization operating in Uganda,  in association with organizations in Uganda, sending funds to Uganda, placing resources in the hands of Ugandans must re evaluate their positions considering the new NGO ACT of 2016 – or alternatively immediately support those who will challenge this law before publication and implementation.  The window of opportunity is very small.
By Melanie Nathan, February 20, 2016.

MuseveniLast year we reported that Uganda’s Parliament had passed the NGO Bill, a repressive piece of anti civil society (non-profit organization) legislation. We now have word that on January 30, of this year,  President in fact signed this into law, and now the onerous NGO Act of 2016, is open to publication and implementation, at great risk to all organizations that do not meet with the government’s approval.

The NGO Act of 2016 will now stand as yet another stain on Uganda’s history, providing further cause for concern, with severe hardship and consequences on a parallel with the anti-Homosexuality Act, which was signed into law by President Museveni in 2014 and later invalidated by the Ugandan courts.

According to local Ugandan human rights groups- ” this law is not good news for organizations working on matters concerning groups like LGBTI persons, sex workers and other marginalized groups.”   In fact upon analysis, this Act is so repressive, that almost any organization can easily run foul of its terms, thereby providing the Museveni dictatorial government, known for its oppression of democratic principles and human rights abuses, with power tools to exacerbate their grip over the country.  This anti NGO law could have the impact of limiting or shutting down the work of all organizations which support, advance and assist in all areas of human rights and even development.

Analysts at HRAPF note from the Act that: “Section 44 on special obligations and its imposition of obligations “not to do anything prejudicial to the security of Uganda and to the interests and dignity of Ugandans”  is so vague and ambiguous that it can be used as an excuse to close down any organization.”   That means the very organization that protect Ugandans from human rights abuses, assault on democracy, anti- gay milieus, and even lawyers who provide assistance through such organizations, can be summarily shut down.

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