By Alex Esagala
Parliament. Deputy Speaker of Parliament Thomas Tayebwa has asked the Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen Jeje Odongo to present to Parliament in two weeks’ time a report on what steps he is taking to negotiate with other countries to ease visa access for ordinary Ugandans.
“Rt Hon Prime Minister, I would like to request that in two weeks’ time the Minister of Foreign Affairs brings a comprehensive report on how they are negotiating for visa friendly terms for the ordinary” He directed.
The Deputy Speaker while giving his communication at the start of this afternoon’s plenary sitting said that many Ugandans have been coming to his office and to other legislators asking for recommendations to get visas to travel abroad.
He said that the visa conditions for many countries across Africa and other parts of the world are not friendly something that has affected their business plans. He said that the press has quoted the Minister of foreign affairs saying that Mozambique, whose President Felipe Nyusi is in Uganda, has accepted visa-free travel for Ugandans to visit his country.
“This brings me to an issue where I have received many people coming for recommendations for Visas. It has been very difficult to get Visas. Our President has been advocating for Pan Africanism but it is hard for our people to travel to other countries in Africa” Tayebwa said that there is a Minister who was sick but struggled to access a South African visa for the caretaker because of the restrictions on ordinary passport holders.
“For me as a Ugandan I would like to see that our passport is respected so that our people can access visas to travel abroad” He added.
Bukonzo West MP Godfrey Atkins Katusabe suggested that an engagement is done with the US embassy in Kampala because while serving as Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs the last term he engaged with the former Ambassador Debora Malac on allowing Ugandans 10-year visas to the US.
The Deputy Speaker guided that the legislators’ suggestions will be catered for when debating the statement of the Minister of Foreign Affairs.