Government, through the Finance Minister, Matia Kasaija has officially informed the Danish government of the suspension of the Democratic Governance Facility.
President Yoweri Museveni early this year directed the immediate suspension of the activities of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF), the largest pool of donor funding to non-governmental organizations in Uganda over what was termed as financing of subversive activities.
However, in a February, 17, 2021 letter to the Danish Ambassador to Uganda, Kasaija officially informed the Danish government of the suspension of the Memorandum of Understanding on the running of the Democratic Governance Facility in Uganda.
“Following an internal review of the various aspects of the program including its implementation modalities and having noted that certain approval processes were not followed prior to the adoption of the program, the government of Uganda has in accordance with section 10 of the aforesaid Memorandum of Understanding, decided to wholly suspend the implementation of the program, pending further engagement between itself and the different contributors to the program with a view to generating consensus on the most suitable implementation mechanism,” Kashaija said .
The letter has since been copied to President Museveni, Foreign Affairs Minister, Embassies of the various donor countries in Uganda and the Attorney General among others.
“The purpose of this letter therefore is to communicate to you and through you to all the contributors to the program, the above decision.”
DGF suspends funding
The development comes at a time when the Democratic Governance Facility communicated to its partners of the suspension of funding of the various programs they have been funding.
In an email to all its partners, Nicole Bjerler, the DGF head in Uganda informed them that biggest NGO donor fund will not be funding their activities until further notice.
“Kindly also note that the FMU [facility management unit] will not be making any disbursements until the situation is resolved,” Bjerler said in the email.
In a January 2, 2021 letter suspending DGF’s activities, President Museveni said he needs answers as to why and how the Ministry of Finance authorized a £100 million (shs500.8 billion) fund to operate illegally in the country without the involvement of cabinet.
“It has come to my attention that the Ministry of Finance under the hand of the Permanent Secretary, irregularly and unilaterally authorized a £100 million fund, known as the Democratic Governance Facility, to be operated exclusively by a foreign mission in Uganda. Unlike prior grant arrangements like the Democratic Governance and Accountability project in which there was transparency and representations the Government of Uganda has no say or oversight on how the Democratic Governance Facility is administered in Uganda, ”Museveni said in the letter to Minister Kasaija.
The visibly angry Museveni said in the letter that he had learnt that a big percentage of the shs500.8 billion went into financing activities and organizations meant to subvert government “in the name of the improving governance.”
The closure of DGF’s activities has since affected more than 100 NGOs and affects some of the projects run by government agencies.
The Uganda Media Centre Executive Director, Ofwono Opondo recently said DGF was being used to fund opposition political parties, especially the National Unity Platform headed by Robert Kyagulanyi, the biggest challenge to President Museveni in the just-concluded 2021 polls.