International Aid organisation, ActionAid, has demanded the unfreezing of its Ugandan bank accounts saying it is preventing the organization from doing its vital work tackling poverty and injustice.
Last Thursday, Ugandan authorities closed down the bank accounts of ActionAid Uganda accusing the organisation of funding age limit protests. The authorities also sent a letter to 25 other non-governmental organizations demanding their bank account details.
“ActionAid demands that the authorities unfreeze its bank accounts and end their acts of intimidation against civil society,” a statement on the organisation’s website says.
Action Aid’s accounts were recently frozen after a directive from Bank of Uganda to Standard Chartered Bank. The Central Bank was acting on a request from the police which is investigating the organisation for allegedly receiving funds to run campaigns that might destabilise the country.
It adds, “Without access to funds, ActionAid will not be able to continue its essential work, which includes efforts to protect women against violence. This is particularly important because of a series of unexplained murders of women in and around Kampala.”
The ruling party wants to amend the constitution to remove the presidential age limit of 75 years of age. The move is widely seen as a way of allowing incumbent President Yoweri Museveni, 73, to stand for President again in 2021. President Museveni has already ruled the East African country for 31 years.
ActionAid is an international organisation, working with over 15 million people in 45 countries for a world free from poverty and injustice.
Marie Clarke, the ActionAid USA Executive Director also added her voice saying they will not be silent and urged others to join the in demanding
“We will not be silent in the face of this latest attempt to suppress civic engagement, and we invite all of our allies and organizations to join us in expressing solidarity with Ugandan civil society. All Ugandans must be allowed to freely express their views for or against issues of national importance to them. The actions the government is taking in this case amount to criminalizing dissent and go against both Ugandan and international law,” she said.
Arthur Larok, the current Country Director of ActionAid Uganda said, “It seems that the Ugandan authorities are willing to sacrifice the needs and rights of its own citizens in order to maintain their grip on power. We must be allowed to continue to assist people living in poverty and facing marginalization. We cannot allow harm to come to ordinary people.”