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Civil society organizations (CSOs) and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) play an active role in Uganda.For example, they spearheaded the reform of electoral laws ahead of the 2016 general elections through a coalition called Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU).NGOs that engage in advocacy and monitoring of government activities have also often been subject to pressure.For example, on July 4, 2018, the Uganda Electoral Commission informed CCEDU that it was suspending its accreditation for its election-related activities and did not grant the group the right to be heard.They were declared inconsistent with the right to freedom of expression and assembly guaranteed under the bill of rights in Uganda’s Constitution and applicable international norms.This decision reaffirmed a previous 2005 ruling of the Constitutional Court in Muwanga Kivumbi vs. 9, which outlawed Section 32 of the Police Act on grounds that it granted the police power to prohibit public assemblies in contravention of the right to freedom of assembly. On August 7, 2019, the Minister of Internal Affairs, Gen.
Efforts to seek dialogue with the Electoral Commission did not initially yield any response, although in February 2019 the suspension was finally lifted.
The Electoral Commission invited all stakeholders, including NGOs, to play a meaningful role in the realization of the roadmap.
CCEDU, for instance, wrote an open letter to the President in January 2019 calling for urgent reforms in electoral laws in the run-up to the 2021 elections.
Section 44 prohibits NGOs from carrying out activities in any part of the country unless they have approval from the District Non-Governmental Monitoring Committee (DNMC) and the local government and have signed a memorandum of understanding (Mo U) to that effect.
NGOs may not extend their operations to new areas unless they have received a recommendation from the National Bureau for NGOs through the DNMC of that area.
(The form can be obtained on the Ministry of Internal Affairs weblink or at the districts with Chief Administrative Officers (CAOS), District Community Development Officers (DCDOs), and NGO Bureau offices.) NGOs with expired permits that are still operating are required to apply for renewal of their permits between August 8, 2019 and September 7, 2019.