Friday 5th August 2022
The National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO Bureau) under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is mandated to register, regulate, monitor, inspect, coordinate and oversee all NGO activities in the country. The NGO Bureau while exercising its mandate on the 3rd day of August 2022 halted the operations of Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) for not registering with the NGO Bureau contrary to sections 29 (1), 31(1) and 31 (2) NGO Act 2016.
The NGO Bureau held engagements with SMUG on the 2nd and 27th of June 2022 to understand the legal status of the entity after a number of concerns were raised regarding the operations of SMUG.
The engagements established the following;
- SMUG continues to carry out its operations although it is neither incorporated with Uganda Registration Services Bureau (URSB) nor registered with the NGO Bureau. It however emerged that SMUG had made an attempt to reserve its name with URSB in 2012 for incorporation purposes however the name was rejected on grounds of being undesirable;
- SMUG operates in its own capacity and has partnerships with some Government institutions such as the Ministry of Health, Uganda Human Rights Commission and Uganda Police;
- The main objective of SMUG is to fight against discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) persons in Uganda; and
- There was no reliable record of the actual physical location of SMUG and the representatives of SMUG were reluctant to disclose the same.
The NGO Bureau also engaged a number of stakeholders that SMUG was partnering with and established that the partners were not aware that SMUG was operating illegally. It is against this background that the NGO Bureau has taken the decision to halt the operations of SMUG with immediate effect. The NGO Bureau calls upon the general public and all its stakeholders to take note of this decision. Secondly calls upon all NGOs operating in the country to do so within the ambit of the law by ensuring that they are fully incorporated, registered and are operating with a valid NGO permit from the NGO Bureau.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY