KAMPALA – Ugandan immigration authorities have deported about twenty Rwandans for allegedly attempting to acquire the country’s travel documents illegally. The Ugandan Immigration Department Spokesperson, Eunice Kisembo, confirmed the deportations.
Kisembo also disclosed that seven Rwandans were facing trial in different courts in Kampala for trying to illegally acquire Ugandan passports.
“We have caught some red-handed with Rwandan passports when we summon them to appear physically for verification. At times they cannot corroborate the details on their application forms,” Kisembo told The New Times last week.
She added: “Others were arrested after discovering that they would not speak any local language (Ugandan dialect) other than Kinyarwanda and French.
“Some Rwandans keep denying leaving court with no choice but to send them to prison. We have at times gone as far as searching their residences but only to find they are not Ugandans.”
She said they were deported in the last financial year under section 313 and 24 of the Penal Code Act, the Immigration Act and the Passport Act.
Those deported include Ali Rusagara, Harriet Mukakarangwa, Habib Mugarukira, Pamela Kirabo Tusime, Penny Mugyenzi, Asmin Murekatete, Jean Marie Namushoboza, Bukenya Mawazo and Jean Pierre. Others are Fortunate Mateke, Mitehai Bakeke, Olivier Gary, Marceline Kezia and Ronald Gakolu.
Eric Murabukirwa, Abdul Gisa and Janet Ndyamukunda are being detained on related charges.
Kisembo said that in most cases they summoned their recommenders to testify as witnesses.
“But in circumstances where we have nabbed the suspects with Rwandan passports we straight away seek their prosecution and eventual deportation,” she said.
Lately, Banyarwanda have complained through their association – UMUBANO – that they have always been denied passports yet they are nationals.
The Ugandan Constitution recognises Banyarwanda as a Ugandan tribe.
A female Munyarwanda who was denied Ugandan travel documents claimed: “These officials determine one’s nationality by only looking at his or her face. If they feel one’s physical features qualify to be Rwandan they intimidate the person into confessing that he or she is a Rwandan citizen yet the Constitution recognises us.”
Ugandan MPs Latif Ssebagala and Hussein Kyanjo have both confessed before that even after recommending Banyarwanda in their constituencies believed to be Ugandans, the immigration department has denied them travel documents.
UMUBANO leaders told The New Times that they recently met the Internal Affairs Minister to sort out the matter and the latter promised to rectify it.
Asked for a comment, Rwanda’s Foreign Affairs minister Dr Charles Murigande said that deportation of foreigners without adequate documents allowing them to stay in a country was a normal process.
“We also do the same to foreigners that we find with no documents; we have deported Ugandans, Senegalese, Burundians and others,” Murigande said yesterday.