DGF suspends projects funding

Museveni was angry that some officials at the Finance Ministry “irregularly and unilaterally” licensed DGF to operate in the country and bankroll NGOs and government agencies to undermine him.

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The future of hundreds of beneficiaries of the Democratic Governance Facility (DGF) funded activities is uncertain following an email from the donor agency asking its partners to suspend the implementation of activities it has been funding.

In an email sent out on Sunday evening to all its partners, Nicole Bjerler, the DGF head in Uganda gave an update on the ongoing engagements between development partners and the government in light of President Yoweri Tibuhaburwa Museveni’s directive to immediately suspend the facility’s activities in the country.

Museveni’s directive was contained in a January 2, letter to Finance minister Matia Kasaija with copies to the Inspector General of Government (IGG), the police, and the State House anti-corruption unit, calling for an investigation into the facility’s activities.

Museveni was angry that some officials at the Finance Ministry “irregularly and unilaterally” licensed DGF to operate in the country and bankroll NGOs and government agencies to undermine him.

In the email, Bjerler told the facility’s implementing partners that the development partners are having “constructive dialogue” with the government but asked them not to organise any public DGF funded activities within the next two weeks.

She also informed them that the facility will for the meantime hold back on its funding.

“Kindly also note that the FMU [facility management unit] will not be making any disbursements until the situation is resolved,” Bjerler wrote.

DGF is the biggest single donor basket with over Shs 500 billion financed by governments of Denmark, Ireland, Austria, the UK, Sweden, Norway and the European Union to provide harmonized, coherent and well-coordinated support to state and non-state entities in the country.

Its implementing partners include civil society organisations, local governments and government ministries and agencies such as the judiciary, police and prisons, among others.

“At this point, it is important that we all remain calm and trust that a solution will be found. From the FMU side, we will refrain from engaging in any public comment or debate on the DGF as the government and development partners continue to engage in constructive dialogue on the matter,” Bjerler wrote.

Bjerler’s email surprised many of its partners and the government as well since Kasaija is still hesitant to effect Museveni’s directive.

Jim Mugunga, the Ministry of Finance spokesman told The Witness at the weekend that the decision to suspend activities could have been taken internally within DGF.

“That could be a decision they made themselves because the President had a meeting with the EU [European Union] delegation, I don’t think it could have been outside the issues they discussed,” Mugunga said.

ICT and National Guidance minister, Judith Nabakooba also confirmed to us that the matter has never been discussed by cabinet.

“I don’t remember seeing it even on the order paper of cabinet meetings,” Nabakooba said on Tuesday.

“According to the letter the President wrote, he asked some people to bring a report to cabinet, that report hasn’t come, even Kasaija’s report has never been tabled before cabinet. Until there is a cabinet discussion, no position can be taken,” she added.

Two weeks ago, Kasaija told CBS FM, a Buganda Kingdom owned radio station, that he had sent a report to Museveni, telling him that his directive to suspend DGF activities was based on wrong intelligence information.

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