Several leaders of the various civil society organisations have taken a swipe at President Museveni for suspending the Democratic Governance Facility, saying the move was aimed at diverting public’s attention.
“We believe President Museveni is trying all manner of actions to divert Ugandan public and international community from one of the most fraudulent electoral processes which culminated into a disputed election on January 14,”Godber Tumushabe, the associate director of Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies told journalists during a press conference on Friday afternoon.
He noted that the people killed during the November 18 and 19 protests, the recent wave of abductions and the shutdown of the internet before, during and after the January 14 polls are some of the actions that the President wanted to cover by suspending the Democratic Governance Facility.
“We also believe that the suspension of DGF is consistent with the ongoing onslaught on civic organizing, attacks on independent media and freedom of the internet. DGF is, therefore, a victim of the democratic reversals we are experiencing in the country.”
According to the NGOs, it is obnoxious for the President to suspend activities of DGF accusing the same of subversion but on the other hand continue receiving donations from foreign donor countries.
“We find it embarrassing that the President’s letter imputes subversion intent on the beneficiaries of DGF funding who include government agencies. The same European donors who the president is accusing of funding subversive activities are providing funding to government through bilateral development assistance to fund a wide range of government programs and public infrastructure projects,” said Moses Isooba, the Executive Director for NGO Forum.
The NGOs however noted that they will not be diverted from issues of governance that are affecting the country.
“The main issue at hand is that we are experiencing serious democratic reversals and an affront on our freedoms as people.”
In his January 2 ,2021 letter, Museveni said he needs answers as to why and how the Ministry of Finance authorized a £100 million (shs500.8 billion) fund to operate illegally in the country without the involvement of cabinet.
“It has come to my attention that the Ministry of Finance under the hand of the Permanent Secretary, irregularly and unilaterally authorized a £100 million fund, known as the Democratic Governance Facility, to be operated exclusively by a foreign mission in Uganda. Unlike prior grant arrangements like the Democratic Governance and Accountability project in which there was transparency and representations the Government of Uganda has no say or oversight on how the Democratic Governance Facility is administered in Uganda,”Museveni said in the letter to Minister Kasaija.
The visibly angry Museveni says in the letter that he has learnt that a big percentage of the shs500.8 billion went into financing activities and organizations meant to subvert government “in the name of the improving governance.”
He consequently directed the IGG, State House Anti-corruption unit and CID to investigate Ministry of Finance officials including the Permanent Secretary, Keith Muhakanizi over possible subversion, corruption and criminal negligence.
Government spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo said the suspended Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) was allegedly sponsoring activities of the National Unity Platform (NUP).
“A political group that was founded three months to elections, where do they get Shs3m for nominations, a party that claims youth are badly off and have no jobs or money, where did they get these finances,” Opondo claimed.
A number of NGOs have been affected by Museveni’s directive to suspend the activities of the Democratic Governance Facility.