Parliament has joined the rest of the world to condemn the tide of hatred attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.
Parliament Speaker Rebecca Kadaga and her deputy Jacob Oulanyah described the xenophobic attacks as savage with no room in modern society.
“Our position is that many African countries are stakeholders in the liberation of South Africa and the other countries. The frontline states took a beating for many years for supporting South Africa [liberation struggle] and harbouring the combatants,” Ms Kadaga stated at the end of a Commonwealth Parliamentary Association meeting in Zanzibar yesterday.
“Although Uganda does not share a border with South Africa, the last seven years before the liberation, thousands of those combatants were in Uganda at a place called Kaweeweta (Nakaseke District) and we saw them through,” she added.
The Speaker urged South Africans to change their attitude “to recognise that we are all Africans and that we are stakeholders in whatever is happening and we should not be looked at as foreigners.”
While presiding over the House yesterday, Mr Oulanyah called for quick intervention by the South African government.
“The issue of migration is as old as mankind, and people migrate from one point to another for many reasons, mainly two; in search of opportunities and security,” Mr Oulanyah said. “If their security is threatened, they look for security elsewhere. If the opportunities are squeezed, they move elsewhere, sometimes they find themselves in foreign countries,” he added.
The Deputy Speaker said the situation was worrying, and needed governments to find a solution.
“Our governments should get interested in this discussion so that we find a lasting solution on how we handle people who move in search of opportunities because if they continue like this, they will incite other people who would have never had a problem with this situation to also start acting accordingly, which would be disastrous,” he added.
Other members, including Chief Opposition whip Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (Kira Municipality), and Mr Muwanga Kivumbi (Butambala) urged the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Sam Kutesa, to brief the country about the fate of Ugandans in South Africa.
Mr Solomon Lechesa Tsenoli, the South African Deputy Speaker of Parliament, told the Zanzibar meeting that he also condemned the violence, and promised that his government was undertaking measures to restore calm.
He said their Speaker, Mr Baleka Mbete, had instructed appropriate committees to study the situation, look at past records of similar incidents and discuss a strategy of curb the attacks.