THE HIGH COURT OF UGANDA DISMISSES AN APPLICATION BY INNOVATIONS FOR DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT AND ACTION (IDEA) AGAINST THE EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR NGO BUREAU, THE NGO BUREAU AND THE ATTORNEY GENERAL
Monday 8th May, 2023
On 20th August 2021, the National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO Bureau) suspended the operations of 54 NGOs due to non-compliance with the NGO Act 2016. A total of 30 NGOs have since fully complied and resumed their operations. Among the affected NGOs was Innovations for Democratic Engagement and Action (IDEA) whose activities were halted for operating without registering with the NGO Bureau contrary to section 29 (1), 31 (1) and 31 (2) of the NGO Act 2016. IDEA opted to institute an application for judicial review against Mr. Okello Stephen the Executive Director NGO Bureau, the NGO Bureau and the Attorney General.
On 5th May 2023, the High Court of Uganda at Kampala dismissed the case with costs citing that the NGO Bureau acted within its mandate and as a regulator enforcing the law, it cannot look on as the law is broken with impunity. The regulator has a wider duty to protect the NGO sector and the public from such unregistered or fake organisations operating without permits in Uganda and this is an immediate and corrective action as a check on the lawbreakers like the applicant.
The NGO Bureau welcomes and expresses its gratitude for the ruling by the High Court of Uganda and informs all NGOs that only those registered with the NGO Bureau, in possession of a valid permit and compliant with the NGO Act 2016 will be allowed to operate.
FOR GOD AND MY COUNTRY
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