CSOs Rubbish Allegations of Funding Terrorism

BY BENJAMIN MWIBO: The civil society organizations in Uganda have refuted rumors of investing money into activities that are aimed at overthrowing the government and also promotion of western behaviors in the society.

Through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Uganda,  during a third national conference on discussion regarding the way forward to strengthening civil society activities in Uganda, these have requested government to provide a positive working relationship in Kampala.

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The meeting run under the theme, “Enhancing Civil Society’s Contribution in Uganda, ” highlighting activities such as Human Rights, Legality, Democracy, Non discrimination among others.

Similar  engagements, started in 2021 and 2022 focusing on enabling the environment for CSOs in Uganda, Opportunities and Challenges, and strengthening civil society resilience and sustainability in Uganda, respectively.

Monica Azimi, Director Democracy and Governance USAID, indicated that globally, the United States government and USAID in particular, has a rich and proud history of supporting civil societies, not just in Uganda but across the world. As president Joe Biden made it clear that the United States prioritizes the advancement of human rights and democratic values, Azimi said they prioritize the fight against corruption and stemming the tide against democratic backsliding, this is both in the United States and across the globe.

Azimi explained that CSOs are there to help the government to put in place policies to extend services to citizens, foster political pluralism, dialogue and increase access to health and education, especially for the most marginalized populations, she said.

“Unfortunately, today CSOs in Uganda and around the world must justify their existence and their work. For instance, why they are doing what they do, what they are doing and why it is important. They must continuously navigate an increasingly difficult and complex operating environment, with restrictions, limiting the abilities of CSOs to deliver and contribute to the development of countries. “

However, she expressed USAID’s concern on how the state is controlling the operating environment with the aim to limit the space for citizens to convene, advocate and express their needs and desires. 

USAID will continue to encourage the positive working relationship between the government, CSOs and the private sector to work together to build a more inclusive and sustainable democracy as the United States also continues to strengthen CSOs capacity to contribute to the development and lift Ugandans out of poverty, Azimi noted.

According to the Executive Director, Human Rights Centre Uganda, Margaret Sekaggya, ” when one is running an organization, there needs to be professionalism because CSO’s are like any organisation in the country and made up of people, therefore they should comply with the standards and parish principles that guide the national institutions despite the challenges they face.”

Government, should however appreciate the role that CSO’s play because they compliment the it in performing several programs, especially in extending services to people. The CSO’s work with everyone in the country and cannot be partisan because they want people to understand also the human rights, be knowledgeable and run the country in a democratic way, she described.

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