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News from Central

CSOs under investigations for what is termed as "unlawful activities"

The Ministry of Internal Affairs has kicked off investigations into the activities of a Kampala-based a Civil Society Organisation (CSO) linked to what the state terms as involvement in alleged unlawful activities.

Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS), a political think-tank, is under probe after the Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen Aronda Nyakairima demanded an investigation into the activities of the organization over its alleged role in recruitment of youths to join political opposition.

In July 2015, the Registrar General of Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) wrote to the organization's associate director, Godber Tumushabe, notifying him and his partner Sophie Kutegeka that a team of inspectors had been appointed to investigate their activities.

On 3rd September 2015, a group of officers attached to URSB and some police officers stormed Tumushabe's offices. During the exercise, the officers and investigators asked for financial statements, as well as expenditure reports.

Tumusahbe said that they told him that they are investigating whether the company is compliant with the Companies Act. Though he was weary of the probe and mentioned that it could be connected to the political and civic work that he was doing.

Tumushabe said the financial reports were not ready by the time the officers visited the premises, however, he was willing to cooperate with them and send the required documents to clear his name.

On contacting the deputy Police spokesperson, Polly Namaye she was not privy to the operation but stated that the police officers could have been asked to escort the URSB officials for security purposes.

“The Ministry could be conducting its own investigations and police officers were asked to escort the officials, which is a common practice,” Namaye explained.

The actions of the state points to a bigger threat to civic space as the 2016 elections draw near. with the potential of clampdown to organizations and people who are critical of government excesses.

This action was weeks after Parliament adopted a House report on the Non-Governmental Organizations Bill 2015. Wis sought to strengthen the capacity of the then NGO Board to regulate, register, coordinate and monitor activities of the NGOs.