CSOs speak out on DGF re-opening

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Civil Society says the decision by government to lift the ban on the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) is faint with uncertainty after the government sought representation on the DGF board.

Regardless, Civil Society ponders the government’s intention in decision-making on a basket fund to which they do not contribute.

The meeting between President Museveni and the Danish Minister for Development Cooperation Flemming Mortensen is what is believed to have finally given a breakthrough for the re-opening of the DGF basket fund that had remained banned for two years.

Communication from both President Museveni and Danish ambassador to Uganda Nicolas Peterson point to government representation in decision making structure as key for the DGF ban lift.

External and Internal pressures or not, some members of the civil society have welcomed the gesture from government.

A lot though remain unclear; the timing, government representation and even the conditions in which DGF will operate.

Human Rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo, in an interview with Nile Post said that, “It too late in the process.”

“The particular program is ending, its re-opening is merely symbolic,” Opiyo said.

The uncertainty of its renewal coupled with yet to be known terms of operation has some members of the civil society doubting governments commitment.

Questions have been asked on why the DGF re-opening was pegged on government representation on the fund?

Some say that this has been a long term demand of the state and yet government does not contribute to this basket.

Opiyo says that government already has major ways and means of understanding what the fund is doing through regulatory organs like the NGO Bureau, FIA, Central bank among others. So we ask, Is it an over reach ?

According to Opiyo, this is an attempt to try and control the fund.

Richard Ssewakiryanga, who is a researcher at the Centre for Basic Research says that, “We welcome the idea (of having government representatives) but we do not want political failures who do not know how CSOs operate.”

Ssewakiryanga advises that government should refer to various regulatory instruments that guide on how development partners and governments should work.

The DGF basket fund comprised of over shs 500bn facilitating over 80 state and non state organizations.

The reasons for its closure remain a subject of speculation and so is its re-opening after a two year ban.

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