Ugandans in the Diaspora deserve proper representation in Parliament
Posted Wednesday, March 20 2013 at 02:00
The Uganda North American Association, (UNAA) will celebrate 25 years of existence on September 2, and this gets me wondering why Ugandans in the Diaspora can’t have Members of Parliament. When Ugandans migrate searching for better alternatives, they are faced with challenges and opportunities.
Among the opportunities that come with global migration and networking is positive remittance impact to the economy. Currently, Ugandans in the Diaspora contribute five per cent to the national GDP every fiscal year according to the World Bank remittance report. Though there was a decline in the previous year, these numbers have steadily gone up from $299m in 2003 to $813m in 2011.
Through promotion of foreign investment and trade through networking and physical engagements in the Diaspora, there have been numerous achievements by both the government and private sector.
As a result of foreign investment and trade directly or indirectly, there is increased air traffic in the country, which renders it a tour and travel destination, thus making it one of Africa’s top tourist destinations.
However, there are many challenges as well. Nobody knows these challenges better than the people in the Diaspora and we need representation in Parliament. An MP who has never done Kyeyo , lived and worked abroad or been denied a visa can not represent us well. Some of the challenges include;
Land issues. If it is tough for someone in Uganda to buy land, how about someone who is the Diaspora. He has to trust friends to buy the land on his behalf. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult due to relatives and friends who misuse money sent to them to purchase land.
Dual citizenship is another issue that has people scratching their heads. Many issues that pertain to dual citizenship are not fully addressed for instance; voting rights.
Exportation, Importation and returning residence are the other issues that need to be polished. The Diaspora needs to be part and parcel of the consultations and also the amending process of these laws.
With at least 700,000 Ugandans in the Diaspora which in reality would be considered Uganda’s second largest district after Kampala, we should have direct representation.
Farouk Mwanje, Dallas Texas