Thirty eight Non Government Organisationsâ€”NGOs in Uganda risk being de-registered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs following accusations by government that they are involved in the recruitment, promotion and support of homosexual activities in the country.
Minister of State for Ethics and Integrity, Simon Lokodo, revealed the development to Uganda Radio Network in an interview on Wednesday at his office in Kampala.
Lokodo, however, declined to specifically name the NGOs saying investigations against six of them are not yet complete.
He says that 32 are already confirmed to have supported gay activities, including sending money from some western countries, under the guise of supporting the poor, based on humanitarian grounds, yet the money is supporting what he called illegal activities.
The minister said government has penetrated many of the NGOs, gathered copies of their minutes while meeting, and is ready to pin them on the matter.
The new development comes just two days after police raided Essella Country Hotel inNamugongo near Kampala, where suspected gay rights activists gathered to be taught how to collect evidence of human rights abuses in the country. Four organizers of the workshop were arrested while others fled on sensing a heavy presence of journalists and security personnel in the area.
They included two Kenyans, a Ugandan and a Rwandan. They were later released without being charged.
Lokodo said that since Monday, he has been overwhelmed by numerous calls from Western media whom he said were endlessly asking for Interviews.
He revealed that he had on Wednesday immediately after the cabinet meeting held discussions with his counterpart from Internal Affairs, Hilary Onek, to discuss how the plan to deregister the NGOs was going to be done.
Lokodo says he is looking forward to a day when the Anti Homosexuality Bill that criminalizes the act of homosexuality will be debated and passed into law. He said that government has full support of the private members’ bill, which was tabled by Ndorwa West Member of Parliament David Bahati.
In parliament meanwhile, Bahati, told Uganda Radio Network that he was waiting for parliament to return from recess next week and push for the debate to be started and completed.
He said however that he is not worried about the delay since he is aware that all serious subjects take long to debate and enact. He cites the example of the marriage and divorce bill which has been on the parliamentary agenda for over three decades.
He calls for counseling of those who have been identified as being members of the gay community.
The Senior Programme Officer for Freedom House in Washington, Njenga Njoroge, on Monday referred to the decision by the minister to break their workshop as ridiculous.
He said the minister’s decision was giving a bad name to government.