Lawyer Mabirizi moves to sue government over suspension of NGOs

Lawyer Hassan Kassim Kiwanuka Male Mabirizi.

Advocate Hassan Kassim Kiwanuka Male Mabirizi has written to Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO) Bureau seeking information regarding its suspension of 54 NGOs for allegedly noncompliance with the law.

His letter to the NGO Bureau Executive Director, Stephen Okello, Mr Mabirizi bases on Article 41 of the constitution of the Republic of Uganda which grants every citizen the right to access information in possession of the state or any other organ and Sections 3, 5 and 34 of the Access to Information Act, 2005.

Mr Mabirizi noted that Paragraph II (VI) of the Constitution’s National Objectives and Directive Principles of State Policy makes it clear that civic organisations shall retain their autonomy in pursuit of their declared objectives, thus, Mr Okello’s decision to suspend the 54 NGOs based on the NGO Act of 2016 was an act of persecution.

“You are aware that between 2020 and 2021, this country has been and is still in illegal lockdowns,” the advocate wrote.

Adding: “I have to a conclusion that contrary to Article 43 (2) (a) of the Constitution, your office has been turned into a political persecution tool to which you, your staff and Board Members may be held criminally liable under the Anti-Corruption Act, 2009.”

The lawyer gave the bureau three weeks to provide him with all documents so that he can prepare to take both civil and criminal proceedings against the body.

A week ago, the NGO Bureau announced that it had suspended 54 NGOs over non-compliance with the NGO Act, 2016.

Among the NGOs that were also accused of delayed renewal of their permits and also delayed filing of annual returns among others is Mr Dickens Kamugisha’s Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), former Minister, Miria Matembe’s Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU) and lawyer Nicholas Opiyo’s Chapter Four.


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