Gov’t agencies urged to collaborate with NGOs in oil, environment matters

Mr Stephen Okello, Executive Director, NGO Bureau. (Image: File)

Government agencies have been urged not to cause divisions among Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) but in its place sit at round tables to chat out good arguments in developing the oil and gas sector amidst the need to conserve the environment.

As such, Mr Winfred Ngabiirwe, the Executive Director Global Rights Alert, says the NGO has proposed to conduct a regional dialogue between Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), human rights defenders, local government, NGO Bureau and the Ministry of Internal Affairs to discuss the state of civic space for NGOs working on natural resources and governance.

This is due to the many activities relating to oil and gas being carried out in the Albertine region making CSO work to see that these resources are governed in a manner that is in line with the aspirations of the National Development Plan III.

The Kikuube District Local Government Senior Community Development Officer, Mr Nelson Atumanya, says NGOs should communicate effectively to avoid being misconstrued.

‘NGOs should use the right language to send out their positions to avoid being misunderstood.”

The Buliisa Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), Mr Eria Magumba, advises NGOs “to involve district leaders during planning and invitations for successful community engagements.”

Since the objective of the dialogue is create a space for dialogue between government and civil society in order to discuss the state of civic space in the extractive sector, Mr Stephen Okello, the Executive Director, NGO Bureau, says the Bureau “plans to sensitise national level security agencies on the role of NGOs to improve the civic space” before “the sensitisation will eventually be cascaded to lower levels of the districts and sub-counties.”

Both Ms Beatrice Rukanyanga and Ms Alice Kazimura of Kwataniza Women Farmers Group and ED KAWIDA respectively, are dissatisfied with the operation for years saying “the renewal exercise is hectic.”

However, Mr Okello advises that for an organisation to be vibrant, it needs to boost its human resource capacity to handle any requirements and has to have people with full knowledge and competencies.

He adds that NGOs must have Memorandums of Understanding from every district in which they operate and have to be free and offer protection to the NGOs.

The law

The Non-Governmental Organisations –NGO Act of 2016 repealed the Non-Governmental Organisations Act (Cap 113) in order to provide a conducive and enabling environment for NGOs in Uganda.

The Act also made provision to strengthen and promote the capacity of NGOs and their mutual partnership with government.


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