The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) has halted operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) with immediate effect.
SMUG is an organization that fights against discrimination of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda.
According to the statement by the executive director of NGO Bureau, Stephen Okello, the SMUG was suspended for operating illegally.
“The NGO Bureau while exercising its mandate on August 3, 2022 halted the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) for not registering with the NGO Bureau contrary to section 29 (1), 31 (1) and 32 (2) NGO Act 2016,” the statement reads in part.
Okello noted that the suspension followed engagements between the NGO Bureau and SMUG on July 2 and July 27, 2022, which were aimed at understanding the legal status of the status.
He further noted that that prior to the engagements, there were a number of concerns raised regarding the operations of the NGO.
Okello explained that during the engagements, a number of decisions was reached among which included allowing the SMUG to continue with its operations although it was neither incorporated with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) nor with the NGO Bureau.
However, according to Okello, SMUG had attempted to reserve its name with URSB in 2012 for incorporation purposes but says the name was rejected because of it was undesirable.
He added that the NGO lacked reliable records of its actual physical location and that representatives were reluctant to disclose the name.
“The NGO Bureau also engaged a number of stakeholders that SMUG was partnering with and established that the partners were not aware that SMUG was operating illegally,” Okello said.
He said that it is against this background that NGO Bureau took the decision to suspend the NGO’s operations.
Following SMUG’s suspension, Okello urged all NGOs in the country to operate within the ambit of the law by ensuring that they are fully incorporated, registered and licensed by the NGO Bureau.