The European Union’s (EU) team in Uganda has asked the Speaker of Parliament to seek for the removal of a suspension on the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), the development partners’ single largest donor basket.
The fund, which was established to provide well-coordinated support to various entities in Uganda, was suspended early this year after President Yoweri Museveni accused the Ministry of Finance of irregularly authorizing funding in the amount of 500 billion Shillings for foreign missions in Uganda to operate exclusively.
He claimed that approving DGF operations without government oversight was similar to handing over Uganda’s sovereignty to foreign interests. “The Ministry of Finance has given the foreign mission and its co-funders free licence to choose which activities, entities, and amounts to finance without the knowledge or agreement of the government,” Museveni said in a letter dated January 2.
However, the suspension hampered the work of a number of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the bulk of which work to promote accountability, good governance, human rights, democracy, service delivery, monitoring, and capacity building at all levels.
Henrik Jespersen, Denmark’s Deputy Ambassador to Uganda, said that one of the most pressing challenges for them right now is to resolve the DGF suspension so that the various groups can go beyond the current restrictions on their activities. This, he said, was critical for a productive debate.
During a meeting with Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah, Jespersen said the following. The EU Acting Ambassador Anna Merrifield led a delegation that included Swedish Ambassador Maria Hkansson, Belgian Ambassador Rudi Veestraeten, and Irish Ambassador Kevin Colgan.
Oulanyah expressed optimism in his statement, stating that the situation will be handled soon because Uganda requires the assistance offered by DGF.
Oulanyah, on the other hand, is devoted to holding conversations with those engaged in the situation.