An intelligence report obtained by the Kampala Post has revealed how the suspended Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) has been facilitating top Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in Uganda to “overthrow” President Yoweri Museveni and the NRM government.
In January this year, President Museveni in his letter ordered the Ministry of Finance to suspend all activities of DGF for financing subversive activities in the country. The European Union-supported DGF was launched in 2011 as a five-year program that was supposed to support the government and non-governmental groups working to promote human rights, deepen democracy and improve accountability.
“The foreign mission and its co-founders have been given free rein by the Ministry of Finance to choose which activity, entities and amounts to finance without the knowledge or consent of the Government. A big percentage of these funds have been used to finance activities and organizations designed to subvert Government under the guise of improving governance,” Museveni said in his January 02 letter.
The latest is that security apparatus has busted how DGF has been financing NGOs into different subversive activities that are not associated to their primary objectives and missions. Most of these subversive activities were being conducted before, during and after the 2021 general elections.
According to the security report, DGF has been using 8 top NGOs in Uganda as their “implementing partners” to carry out subversive activities that among others include; training and funding the opposition, deployment of covert missions to collect information for the opposition, conducting parallel vote tabulation for the 2021 general polls. Apparently, most of the named NGOs are illegally operating in Uganda without registration with the NGO Bureau, a semi-autonomous body under the Ministry of Internal Affairs established mandated to register, regulate, coordinate, inspect, monitor and oversee all NGO operations in the country.
Here are the subversive activities of each NGO supported by DGF.
1. Uganda National NGO Forum (UNNGOF)
Uganda National NGO Forum hosts DGF’s electoral support implementing outfit, the National Election Watch Uganda (NEW-U). NEW-U is a coalition of over 60 organizations that among others observe electoral activities across the country and was in October 2020 suspended by the NGO Bureau for illegal operations contrary to the NGO Act 2016.
According to the security report, NEW-U was deployed to conduct covert missions such as monitoring and collecting information on relevant aspects that can trigger frustrations and controlled violence prior to, during and after elections. NEW-U was also the one allegedly conducting research to inform opposition manifesto. Among other duties of NEW-U were to conduct parallel vote tabulation for the 2021 elections and conducting “ethical” hacking and stress-testing on the Electoral Commission IT system.
2. Uganda Women’s Network (UWONET)
UWONET hosts the women in democracy groups comprising of Women Development Network (WDN)-Uganda Chapter, Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Centre for Women in Governance (CEWIGO) and Action for Development (ACFODE). According to the report, the major activity of UWONET was/has been to train and fund opposition (NUP and FDC) women candidates. The NGO is also a think tank for People Power movement and NUP.
3. Human Rights Centre Uganda (HRCU)
HRCU was founded to protect and promote the rights of Human Rights Defenders in Uganda. The NGO operates in partnership with the National Coalition of Human Rights Defenders (NCHRD). HRCU is the one championing the Human Rights Defenders Bill, 2020 and the Human Rights (Enforcement) Act, 2019 that provides for personal liability of security offices and immediate acquittal of criminals whose human rights have been violated. This NGO was also used to champion courts cases to nullify the NGO Law and Public Order Management Act.
4. Great Lakes Institute for Strategic Studies (GLISS)
Whereas GLISS that is headed by Godber Tumushabe is not directly funded by DGF, it is funded by the Royal Danish Embassy (RDE) to support multi-institutional approaches to coalesce opposition democracy seeking forces. GLISS activities have been convening the Uganda Transition Scenarios Thought Leadership Group, a group comprised of opposition political parties and CSOs that allegedly think tank on removing President Museveni.
5. Alliance for Campaign Finance Monitoring (ACFIM)
ACFIM is an outfit designed and funded by DFG and the National Endowment for Democracy to track and expose the use of state resources by the NRM party to create public discontent. In the just concluded 2021 elections, ACFIM was deployed to track and ultimately expose resource utilization and expenditures by the NRM presidential candidate to create public fury.
6. Citizen’s Election Watch-IT (CEW-IT Uganda)
This NGO was created and funded by DGF to equip CSOs with IT capabilities report on election results in sync with other opposition IT based applications such as NUP’s U-Vote that was used by the opposition to transmit fake election results. The major activities of CEW-IT Uganda have been to train local monitors on collecting and reporting data for parallel vote tabulation through IT systems. The security report says that it is CEW-IT Uganda that helped NUP to set up their parallel rally center at Hotel Africana. However, security disabled the tally center on the voting day of 14th January 2021.
7. Legal Aid Service Providers Network (LASPNET)
LASPNET is a network of legal aid service providers. The Secretariat is one of the most funded by the DGF to pay opposition politicians’ lawyers. LASPNET’s activities are to provide legal aid services to political opposition groups especially NUP and FDC and individuals. Apart from offering legal aid services to the opposition, LASPNET has been portraying an image of a highly legally compromised electoral process.
8. Refugee Law Project, Makerere University (RLP)
RLP is also funded by DGF to promote rights of the minority groups. The NGO has been instrumental in protecting and promoting LGBT rights in Uganda.
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