Ugandans in the diaspora are seeking for an efficient and flexible government intervention to enable them easily acquire National IDs to participate in the 2021 general elections.
The communities under their umbrella- the Uganda North America Association (UNAA) have as a result sought an appointment with the Prime Minister Dr Ruhakana Rugunda to discuss various challenges that they [in the diaspora] continue to encounter that among others include; land grabbing in Uganda, pockets of insecurity like murders and kidnaps, the problem of voting rights and acquisition of National IDs.
While addressing the media on Wednesday in Kampala, UNAA President Henrietta Nairuba Wamala, said that they have already sought an appointment with the Prime Minister who is today expected to schedule the date for the meeting.
“We wrote to the Prime Minister and we expect his reply today. The purpose of this meeting is to bring to the attention of government the challenges that communities in the diaspora face. So we shall expect officials from Ministries of Lands, Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs to be part of them meeting that is meant to provide solutions to our problems,” Nairuba said.
“The challenge of renewing Ugandan passports, or applying for new passports or National IDs is still big. There is also a problem of voting rights. We are already a community that remits so much and we need to be heard and this should be exercised through our voting rights. But we cannot vote because a National ID is a prerequisite and yet the process of acquiring one is very tiresome.”
She added that UNAA is trying to work with government to ensure that these IDs are easily accessible to their communities considering the fact that even small transactions cannot be effected with a National ID.
“We need these services brought closer to us and that is why we need to meet officials from Internal Affairs and Foreign Affairs. Imagine I stay in Chicago but I have to fly up to Washington to pick an ID which is over 12 hours on road,” she said.
Nairuba added that the communities in the diaspora are losing their property in Uganda to land grabbers who exploit their absence to steal and encroach on their land. Ugandans are in the diaspora are seeking for a long lasting solution from Ministry of Lands to protect their investments.
UNAA is the largest formal association of Ugandans in the Diaspora. The objectives of the organization are to "Promote the Social, Cultural and Economic Development of the Ugandan Community in North America and beyond." The Ugandan Community in North America numbers over 120,000 individuals.
Annually, the Association which has a membership of 1392 brings together over 2500 people in one convention. The 32nd UNAA Convention will take place on 3rd to 7th September 2020 in Hilton San Francisco union Square in California.
The Association has made a few notable achievements that have greatly impacted on the social welfare of Ugandans including the construction and equipment of Terrewode Women's Community Hospital in Soroti, a community hospital that specializes in the prevention, treatment, surgical correction and rehabilitation of obstetric fistula and its complications.