Hot Seat: Matembe Throws  In Towel, Resigns From Top Human Rights NGO CCEDU

Hot Seat: Matembe Throws In Towel, Resigns From Top Human Rights NGO CCEDU

By Ivan Mwine

Whether it is due to excessive pressure, advanced age or health reasons, it is hard to tell now.

But we can ably reveal that veteran anti-corruption crusader and human rights activist Miria Matembe has resigned her position as Chairperson for the Citizens Coalition for Electoral Democracy.

Matembe, who  is a renowned government critic, shocked all her colleagues when she tendered in her two-page resignation letter January 25, 2022, addressed to CCEDU’s secretary to the board, Robert Sempala,  noting  that the move is for the benefit of the entire organisation.

It should be noted that CCEDU, which mainly receives funding for its activities from the European Union and other international funders,  was indefinitely suspended by government last year and Matembe believes the suspension rotates more around her as a person than compliance queries that were raised by the Nongovernmental  Organisations  (NGO) Bureau.

Her letter reads in part thus; “In my own understanding, I believe CCEDU’s indefinite suspension was and continues to be as a result of my personal political beliefs. I have been seized with useful information to that effect – that this non conclusive response from both NGO Bureau and the Electoral Commission, our line partner institution is because of my political standing in the midst of the current political environment.”

She added that;  “Rather than a whole citizens’ coalition with over 1,000 members and many other organisations being suspended because of my individual political thoughts, and for the good and interest of these Ugandans, it is rather prudent that I step down from the position of chairperson in order to give the organization a second chance to live.”

Matembe, who is former minister for Ethics and Integrity, says that since she assumed office in August 2019, she has faced a lot of difficulties following the government’s failure to collaborate with the NGO, to the extent of denying CCEDU  accreditation to observer the 2021 general election.

It should be noted that the  NGO Bureau in August 2021 halted the activities of 54 non-governmental organisations,  in a bid tighten control over the civil society and curtail money laundering in the country, faulting them for failing to comply with legislation covering their activities including source  and accountability  for their funds,  failure to renew expired permits, among others.

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