“Stop Your Unnecessary Panic & Let Us Serve Our Purpose”-CSOs Put Gov’t On Tenterhooks Over Freezing NGO Accounts

“Stop Your Unnecessary Panic & Let Us Serve Our Purpose”-CSOs Put Gov’t On Tenterhooks Over Freezing NGO Accounts

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By Spy Uganda

Kampala: The Civil Society Organisations (CSO) have condemned Government for the decision by Financial Intelligence Authority (FIA) to freeze the accounts of several NGO forums for allegedly financing terror activities.

READ ALSO: CSOs Want Gov’t To Constitute Leadership Code Tribunal, Enact Witness Protection Laws

In their joint statement read by Action Aid Country Director Xavier Ejoyi on Sunday (December 13, 2020), the CSOs argue that the allegations levelled against them by FIA are ‘baseless’ and purportedly intended to delegitimize their work, blackmail them and look bad in the face of Ugandans.

“We are deeply troubled as the civil society sector about the growing smear campaign engineered to undermine our credibility and deep commitment to improving the welfare of all Ugandans. We strongly believe that nation-building is a collective effort with each sector bringing their expertise and experience to the service of the nation,” Ejoyi noted.

It should be remembered that last month FIA froze the accounts of the two organisations; Uganda Women’s Network-UWONET and Uganda National-NGO Forum in Stanbic Bank, ABSA Bank, KCB Bank and Standard Chartered Bank on Friday on allegations of financing terrorism.

READ ALSO: Gov’t Investigates NGOs, CSOs Over Money Laundering

The decision to halt any bank transactions on the accounts of the organizations doesn’t only affect the organisations but affects Ugandans who benefit from their work and services. According to Ejoyi, the attacks on NGOs are increasing and cited the example where the National Bureau for NGOs disrupted the work of NEW-U, a platform of NGOs engaged in the monitoring of 2021 elections in October 2020.

He said this trend has been escalating since 2010 where security agencies attacked and disrupted the work of Black Monday anti-corruption activists and the free and fair elections campaign.

“In 2017, security agencies raided offices of a number of organizations and halted operations of their blank account. At no point did these agencies provide any credible information regarding the allegations levelled on these organizations,” said Ejoyi. He asked the government to halt its attack and leave NGOs to do their best in giving help to the country.

READ ALSO: CSOs Punch Holes In  2019/2020, National Budget Framework Paper

Sarah Birette, the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Governance said it’s unfortunate that mothers of the nation are now branded, terrorists. She called for the immediate retraction of the said allegations.

“It has been advocating for the rights of women in the country and, unfortunately, it has also been linked to terrorists,” Bireete said.

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