Uganda has suspended the registration of new faith-based organisations. The move is to allow for the creation of a legal framework to monitor their operations.
“There is no legal framework to manage affairs of faith-based organisations,” the Ethics and Integrity Minister, Fr Simon Lokodo told local media, Daily Monitor.
“They are paying for registration but there is no mechanism for their supervision and monitoring. We have paralysed their registration,” he added.
Mosques and traditional churches are registered as non-government organisations. In some cases they are registered as companies limited by guarantee and as a board of trustees.
Critics of government have described the move as unnecessary. The head of the Watchman Ministries Joseph Kabuleta described the suspension of registration as unnecessary and infringement on the right to worship
“There are so many laws which have not been enforced. They are infringing on our right to worship. We shall worship the way we want. Laws are supposed to cover everybody but you cannot make a law for a certain group of people,” said Mr Kabuleta during a consultative meeting with other pastors in Kampala.
The latest move comes in the wake of the closure of thousands of churches and dozens of mosque in Rwanda. The government there is seeks to assert more control over the religious community.
Many African countries have struggled to contain the activities of churches that continue to spread fast across their cities.
Angola also this year announced plans of closing down what it calls “unregistered churches”.
The planned shutdown of these churches started last month. It is part of the enforcement of a law meant to regulate religious activity.