November 27, 2021

edge.ug

we say it the way it is

CSOs threaten to close shop over arrests, harassment, assassinations, break ins

Sarah Birete, the executive director of Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG).

0 0
Read Time:3 Minute, 2 Second

Civil Society Organizations have threatened to close shop in Uganda citing office break ins, administrative harassment, attempted assassination and illegal arrests as well as detentions.

“If the regime attacks DON’T stop, we will shut down the NGOs and start operating as ordinary Ugandans,” said Sarah Bireete, the executive director of Center for Constitutional Governance (CCG).

Bireete was Tuesday speaking at a joint press conference by CSO leaders at CCG offices in Minister’s Village, Ntinda.

CSO leaders who spoke at the press conference said they were concerned about the increased episodes of attacks on the sector, state sanctioned abuse of due process, citizen rights, and freedoms.

The systematic attack has been mainly targeted at anyone that is seen to be working on electoral democracy, natural resources management, human rights and political accountability, they noted in a joint statement.

“The trend suggests that not only are citizens and their organizations targeted, but rather funding partners and anyone else supporting civic space and citizen organizing. This is not only disturbing but an expose` of the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.”

Some of the most recent attacks include: the ban of unregistered forms of citizen organizing such as loose coalitions like the National Election Watch in October 2020, the Deportation of staff of foreign missions (Embassies) and staff of international NGOs working on elections, the Freeze of Accounts of several NGOs working on democracy, human rights and accountably   and targeted break-ins on NGO premises and homes of staff, without any report on investigations from the state.

Birete cited the arrest of Civil Society leaders, such as the Executive Director of AFIEGO, Mr. Dickens Kamugisha, and other staff across the country in October 2021, the ED of Chapter 4 in December 2020 and over 20 CSO Election observers in January 2021.

“They were only released yesterday (Monday) after we mounted pressure on authorities. They (security) never wanted to release them,” Birete revealed.

“If this doesn’t stop, we will close shop. We pay taxes and contribute to balancing of foreign exchange, we employ people too. These will all end and we start operating as citizens of this country,” she added.

While speaking to press, Angella Asiimwe, the founder of Voice Consults, said the attacks on the media and opposition political actors are also well documented.

Angella Asiimwe, the founder of Voice Consults (L) and Sarah Bireete addressing press

“We wish to point out that these targeted attacks are part of a larger scheme by the regime to decimate all progressive democracy and accountability seeking forces,” she pointed out.

Great Lakes Institute For Strategic Studies Associate Director, Godber Tumushabe, cited the attempted assassination of Civil Society Leaders and failure by the Police to investigate the incidents in-spite of the leaders reporting the incidents which he said was very worrisome.

Great Lakes Institute For Strategic Studies Associate Director, Godber Tumushabe (L) at the press conference

“For instance, on 16th and 20th August 2021, there was an attempted assassination of a CSO Leader, in Kampala, and in-spite of Police visiting the scenes three times, they have to-date refused to provide the CCTV footage or even any feedback to the victim,” he said.

He said the purported ban and halting of activities of over 60 organizations (54 in August 2021, and 6 in May 2021), preceded by the illegal arrest and incarceration of staff is the latest in this charade of attacks.

Happy
Happy
0 %
Sad
Sad
0 %
Excited
Excited
0 %
Sleepy
Sleepy
0 %
Angry
Angry
0 %
Surprise
Surprise
0 %