By Dedan Kimathi
The recent repatriation of Ugandan nationals from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has sparked huge disagreements between Government and the opposition.
At the beginning of last month, Government through the Minister of Gender, Labour and Social Development (MOGLSD) Betty Amongi announced plans to ferry over 400 Ugandans whose visas had expired or were stranded.
True to their word, the first batch of 68 Ugandans touched down at Entebbe International Airport on October 22 this year and as expected Government was quick to claim to claim credit.
The development came in the thick of a similar campaign spearheaded by the opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) President Hon. Robert Kyagulanyi Sentamu alias Bobi Wine.
Unfortunately, Kyagulanyi’s plans to hold a charity concert in Dubai, was purportedly foiled at the last gasp over reasons that are yet to be known.
Now while addressing the press at Parliament on October 26, 2022; Muwada Nkunyingi the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs accused the regime of posturing.
“The repatriated nationals have been repatriated by the National Unity Platform and another group by the Government of United Arab Emirates and another group by a number of volunteers who adhered to the calls we have been making as People of Uganda and NUP as Opposition,” he stated.
To prove his point, Nkunyingi challenged Government to avail a single air ticket of those it claims to have rescued.
“Uganda Airlines, they fly to the UAE. Many times they fly half empty and sometimes empty with the pilot and the crew but they failed to offer even a single ticket maybe under their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) among others. It is a shame that we had to cry to the Government of UAE for repatriation and all these repatriated nationals were transported by airlines of UAE, some by Emirates, some by Fly Dubai among others,” he retorted.
“They have not paid even a single ticket but now they are loitering around Uganda trying to address the nation on matters they did not attend to, peddling a lot of lies and propaganda,” Nkunyingi added.
Much as their efforts have gone unnoticed, it is understood that the opposition through Nkunyingi today held talks with the UAE Embassy in Kampala. Talks rotated around the fate of those yet to be airlifted.
“We have requested in writing that UAE extend the waiver period for thousands of our Ugandan and African nationals scattered across UAE to benefit. As we request UAE authorities to extend the waiver, we shall seek that UAE considerately maintain a simple visa and travel regime for Uganda passport holders,” a copy of the letter states.