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NGO Politics in Uganda: A Practitioner's Perspective

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In the 1990s and early 2000s, the government of Uganda provided an enabling environment for Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to engage in development and advocacy work. Since the introduction of multiparty elections in 2006 however, President Museveni has begun to adhere to a new set of norms that mark a relapse in his government’s commitment to human and civil rights. In response, heightened tensions have emerged between the government of Uganda and civil society and as a result legislation has been introduced to restrict NGO activity in the country. This paper argues that these tensions are a product of both Uganda’s fractionalized political system and the strategic priorities of donors and NGOs operating in the country. Therefore in order to be more effective, NGOs must engage with larger sections of the population and be cognizant of the risks associated with their advocacy work.
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