NGOs deregistration worry activists

AS the Registrar of Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) deregistered nearly 5000 institutions, human rights activists have called for thorough research to find out why they fail to conform to registration conditions.

The call comes barely 10 days after the NGOs Registrar issued a 14-day ultimatum to about 3,000 entities to show cause why legal measures should not be taken against them for breaching the law while nearly 5000 of them were deregistered in January.

The NGOs have failed to submit annual report for two consecutive years paying prescribed annual fees.

Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC) Coordinator, Advocate Onesmo ole Ngurumwa said they are ready to collaborate with the National Council of NGOs and the Registrar’s office to conduct thorough research to establish the challenges causing most of the NGOs to collapse or fail to comply with the laws.

He said the move will help to set up joint strategies and reduce the increasing number of civil society organisations which are at risk of being deregistered.

“We invite other stakeholders in the country to contemplate together on how to improve the status of NGOs in the country because they have huge contributions to the country’s development,” he said.

He called upon the government to continue recognising the contribution of NGOs in the county’s development and oversee their operations by observing laws, policies and regulations.

Mr Olengurumwa also called upon the government to look into possibilities of providing subsidy to NGOs so that they can sustain their operations and observe international standards of managing NGOs.

“We call upon the government to work on complaints raised by NGOs and CSOs on policies and laws, and if possible to form a task force to work on areas of improvements.

“The NGOs also recommended the establishment of an independent authority which will be responsible for registering and coordinating NGOs,” he said.

He explained that most of the local NGOs in the country do not have funds to run their institutions as required.

“This deteriorates the organisation’s ability to carry out their jobs, as a result they fail to submit detailed reports to the registrar and pay the mandatory annual fees which is sometimes assumed as deliberately violating the law,” he noted.

He further commended President Samia Suluhu Hassan for being positive on human rights and collaboration with NGOs.

Olengurumwa also said that the Head of State has also been engaging politicians from opposition parties and allowing for political activities to be carried out in country. “This is promotion of democracy and human rights.”

In May 2022, President Samia Suluhu Hassan urged the country’s Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to be more accountable and transparent to reduce the potential for any fraudulent conduct.

Most CSOs have complained about being legally obliged to be honest in their expenditure and
funding sources, according to the Head of State, but the government has implemented this measure following international institutions’ requirements.

“International institutions want the country to be transparent in the use and receiving of money in the country to combat money laundering since CSOs might be utilised in money laundering,” President Samia remarked at the Tanzania Human Rights Defenders Coalition (THRDC’s) 10th-anniversary celebrations.

Laws governing the operations of charities and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) were amended in 2019 to allow the government to monitor their financial records.

President Samia also stated that the government seeks transparency to understand the progress that is being made because at the end of the day, donors claim to have sent several billions to Tanzania through implementing agencies that the government is unaware of, and have no idea when the money arrived or how it was spent.

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