Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Uganda: Parliament Concerned About Security of Ugandan Businesses in DRC

Kampala, Uganda — The Committee on Foreign Affairs is concerned about the security of Ugandans and their businesses in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

The Members of Parliament on the committee raised the concerns in a meeting with officials from Uganda’s Embassy in Kinshasha led by the Deputy Ambassador Frankman Matata Twaha on Tuesday, 11 April 2023.

Allan Atugonza (Indep., Buliisa County) said there have been rampant arbitrary arrests and detention of Ugandans living and working in the DRC.

“Has the Ambassador included costs in his budget for visits to prisons in Eastern Congo or follow-ups with consular services for Ugandans who are unrecognised in these prisons?” Atugonza asked.

Jennifer Muheesi (NRM, Kaazo District) tasked the Ambassador to clarify on the causes of insecurity against Ugandans in the DRC.

“What is causing the insecurity in the DRC and what is the Mission doing to help Ugandans who are suffering there?” said Muheesi.

Judith Achan (NRM, Nwoya District) said that some Ugandans sneak into neighbouring countries without requisite documentation or identification.

“There are Ugandans who are being harassed on the streets of DRC and at the border entry points. How do these people enter the DRC?” Achan queried.

The Deputy Chairperson of the Committee, Boaz Ninsiima said that security is a pertinent issue that ought to be addressed expeditiously.

“DRC is one of our big trade partners. We can request for more funding towards addressing insecurity or we can find a way as an Embassy, to prioritise this matter. We cannot leave it hanging,” Ninsiima said.

Edith Namutebi Nsubuga, the Accounting Officer at Uganda’s Embassy in Kinshasha said budget cuts have limited many of their activities, including providing consular services to Ugandans in DRC prisons.

Ambassador Matata said that official communication between the Embassy and the Government of DRC had been frozen for some time due to developments at its Eastern border with Uganda.

“This affected most of our activities, where you would write to ask for permission to pay consular visits but they would not respond. It has been a big challenge but now the communication lines are open,” Matata said.

He told the committee that many Ugandans misconstrued the political announcement that DRC was joining the EAC, and took it for granted that they could move without proper documentation.