President Museveni has ordered for the formation of a committee to expedite talks with donors of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) to resolve the fallout with the government.
This follows the President’s decision to lift the suspension on DGF activities in Uganda.
The team, which will be headed by Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, was given two weeks to accomplish the task.
It comprises of Uganda government officials and representatives of countries contributing to the DGF funding basket.
The President made the remarks during his meeting with European Union (EU) diplomats on February 18 at State House Entebbe.
A highly-placed source told this newspaper that Mr Museveni, in the meeting with the envoys, blamed Ministry of Finance officials for signing a working agreement with DGF, allowing the latter to operate in Uganda, without involving Cabinet and seeking approval from the Attorney General, the chief government legal advisor.
“The committee members are slated to meet tomorrow (today) to examine matters of concern so that the operation of the facility resumes. The discussions will ensure that going forward, the fund is transparent and should involve government in its operations,” the source said.
By press time yesterday, Dr Rugunda had not answered our repeated calls but the spokesperson at the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Mr Julius Mucunguzi, confirmed the committee was formed following President Museveni’s meeting with EU officials.
He said the committee, which has already started it work, would discuss the nature, scope, and operation of DGF but declined to disclose the specific issues, saying he would preempt the discussions.
“The Prime Minister has had initial discussions with members of the team to look at the fund in a holistic manner,” Mr Mucunguzi said.
“Since the matters are still being discussed and not concluded, I am not in position to speak about the details. They are slated to complete the task within the time framework they were given,” he added.
The Danish ambassador to Uganda, Mr Nicolaj Hejberg Petersen told Daily Monitor yesterday evening: “The DGF Board is in constructive dialogue with the Ugandan authorities on how best to resolve the issues.”
Last month President Museveni suspended DGF operations in Uganda, sparking uncertainty and panic over the future of about 74 civil society organisations in the country that were funded by the donors.
Mr Museveni ordered the Inspector General of Government (IGG), police and State House Anti-Corruption Unit to investigate how Ministry of Finance authorised DGF to operate in Uganda and allegedly bankroll non-governmental organisations to undermine him.
On January 2, he wrote to the Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, teling him that DGF had been “irregularly and unilaterally” licensed by the Finance ministry’s permanent secretary to be operated exclusively by a foreign mission in Uganda without consultation and limited involvement of Ugandans.
“How is it possible that the Ugandans whose affairs are being dealt with here can only be spectators in the management of their own affairs? This is not the financing of a private business but the funding of State and non-State actors to achieve the political objective of the funders,” Mr Museveni wrote to Mr Kasaija.
Democratic Governance Facility is financed by the governments of Denmark, Ireland, Austria, UK, Sweden, Norway, and the European Union to facilitate equitable growth, poverty eradication, rule of law and long term stability in Uganda.
Denmark is currently the development partners’ chair of DGF which bankrolls about 74 State and non-State organisations.