Otafiire: Gov’t Must Listen To Civil Society


website geneva;”>He said that NGOs had now surpassed the contribution of national opposition political parties in providing guidance to the ruling government, enhancing stability and national development.

According to executive director national NGO Board Mr Simon Nangiro, Uganda has so far registered NGO’s 10460 activities ranging from charity to governance and service delivery.

Otafiire praised civil society and said that government is now relying more on their advice than parliamentary opposition.

“Of course the opposition could say that they advise us and we don’t listen; but that’s alright, they should just put it on record that they advised us and we never followed,” said Otafiire.

The UPDF General added that government has now an obligation to attentively consider submissions from Civil society because they act as a mirror in which government reflects on its achievements and misdeeds.

“To err is all mankind activity’” he said. “It is only a stationary vehicle that cannot raise dust. So when NGO’s step on our toes every time we stray, we ought to listen to them.”

He added that civil society widely represents the views of the ordinary Ugandans because they are based at the grassroots.

“Those of us who are stewards of state machinery must listen to those who bestowed us this responsibility,” he added.

Kahinda was on Thursday opening a two day third Civil Society discussion at Hotel Africana where he also signed and commissioned the Citizens charter – a citizens’ declaration in which Ugandans among others commit themselves to denounce bad leadership, civil and military wars, cerebrate their diversity, and enjoy their national wealth.

The Minister, however, cautioned human rights defenders against overstepping their good relations with government by taking to the streets and causing commotion over trivial and solvable matters, “because then the police would have to come in with a little teargas”

He added: “But when you feel that the [police] are over doing it, I am the minister for Justice and Constitutional Affairs; you should come to me for justice,” said Oatfiire, sending the audience into rib-cracking laughter.

Speaking at the event, executive director NGO Forum, Richard Sewakiryanga, castigated government reluctance in solving Ugandan’s social and economic problems.

He blamed poor service delivery on the huge size of government.

“We now have over two million people in elected and non elected positions in the country,” he said.

“This huge government is completely absent in matters to do with service delivery and only shows up when the regime is threatened, and so you only see it advocating for indoor demonstrations and zero tolerance to walk to work.”


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