|Hyeroba Geofrey, Monitoring, Evaluation and Research Officer, KRC Uganda|
|Francis Musinguzi Program Manager – Information, Research and Communication, KRC Uganda|
The work of civil society is presently facing increasing scrutiny and suspicion by the state in what non-state actors decry as a shrinking civic space. Two cases standout.
On January 2nd, towards the general elections in Uganda, President Museveni ordered the suspension of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) activities, stating that its funds were “used to support activities and organizations bankrolled to undermine the government under the guise of enhancing good governance. He castigated the Ministry of Finance for failure to consult cabinet and the president’s office on the operations of DGF, an issue he described as subversion, corruption, or criminal intelligence.
On August 20th, the National Bureau for Non-Governmental Organisations (NGO Bureau), the government agency which registers, regulates, monitors, inspects, coordinates and oversees the activities of NGOs in Uganda said it had found 54 NGOs non-compliant with the NGO Act 2016. The affected NGOs were castigated on operating with expired permits, failure to file annual returns and audited books of accounts to the NGO Bureau, and operating without registering with the NGO Bureau.
Whether the above assertions are true or baseless, the government’s regulatory arm on civil society operations raises pertinent issues that call for inhouse CSO reflection. For instance, are CSOs transparent enough in their operations and accountable to their constituencies and government?
In responding to concerns and the need to provide a safeguard against culpable actions or inactions of CSOs, KRC Uganda is introducing the civil hour on KRC FM radio as a platform for CSOs to account to the citizens and government by communicating their honourable role in the development of the country.
The program is hosted by the Information, Research and Communication Unit of KRC Uganda, with a CSO coordination and mobilisation role of Kabarole NGOs/CBOs Association (KANCA). KANCA works with KRC to mobilise CSO participation and audience citizen listenership into the program.
The Civil Hour program is aired live every Saturday from 9:00 am -11:00 am with sponsorship from the civil society fraternity. Sponsorship from partners is welcome to sustain the program on KRC FM airwaves.