The Ugandan government on Friday halted the activities of 54 non-governmental organizations for allegedly not complying with regulations, reported Yahoo News.
The suspensions that target agencies ranging from rights watchdogs to women’s groups were announced by the government’s Non-Governmental Organization Bureau on Friday. The bureau said that the suspension will come into force from immediate effect.
The groups affected by the government’s ban include Chapter Four, one of the country’s most prominent rights organizations, election observer group CCEDU, as well as charities, religious, environmental, and electoral democracy groups.
In a statement, the national bureau for NGOs said the decision was taken in response to the groups’ violation of regulations, including failing to register with the authorities, failing to file accounts, operating with expired permits, or.
Notably, some of the organizations, which have been ordered to shut down their operations, had taken part in an election monitoring campaign on polling day in January which was raided by security forces and during which several of their leaders were arrested.
The controversial polls saw President Yoweri Museveni return to the office for a sixth term after a violent campaign marked by the arrest of prominent Ugandan opposition figures, and attacks on the media people.
According to the election results, Museveni secured 58 percent of the votes, while his closest rival and singer Bobi Wine got 35 percent of the votes in January polls.
Chapter Four executive director Nicholas Opiyo denied any unlawful conduct by his group. He said the government’s action was part of a wider crackdown on civil society. He said it was a continuation of the restricting of civic space in Uganda using legal, administrative and physical restraints on organizations across the country.
In similar statements, the European Union and the United States have underlined the importance of civil society in the country without directly criticizing the Ugandan government’s action.