Odongo was on Thursday appearing before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee where several MPs tasked him to explain the government’s reported plan to host 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.
Odongo was today appearing before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee where several MPs asked about government’s reported plan to host 2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs Gen. Odongo Jeje has said that no
decision has yet been made to host Afghan refugees in the country.
Odongo was on Thursday appearing before Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee
where several MPs tasked him to explain the government’s reported plan to host
2,000 refugees from Afghanistan.
The Minister told MPs that Uganda has been however approached because of its
international humanitarian record of helping people in distress and that it is
on this record that the country is continuing to discuss the matter.
“No decision has been made, whether they will come or not. It’s a suggestion, a
proposal; discussions are going on…no substantive decision has been made,”
He told the committee chaired by Buliisa Woman MP Norah Bigirwa, that
government will communicate a decision on the matter when it is finally made.
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However, in a separate meeting between Parliament’s Presidential Affairs
Committee and Hilary Onek, the Minister for Relief, Disaster Preparedness and
Refugees, he said that the Afghan refugees will be catered for by the American
“Because it is the one bringing them here for us to hold them here, while the
American government is processing their documents for onward journey to
America. So that is the information we got,” Onek said. He was responding to a
query about proposed plans to hold the refugees at Namboole Stadium which has
been used by the government as a Covid-19 treatment centre.
Onek dismissed reports of hosting the Afghan refugees at Namboole saying that
the stadium is never close to their minds when it comes to hosting refugees and
therefore it is not on the program for Afghanistan.
“We shall put them in hotels…after all our hotels have been starving of
customers. So hotels should also start earning money from this undertaking,” he
This week, the State Minister for Disaster Preparedness Esther Anyakun Davinia said
that Uganda is willing to take in 2,000 refugees who are fleeing renewed
instability in Afghanistan.
Uganda is among the African countries that the US has courted to
host the Afghan refugees after Taliban militants ousted Ashraf Ghani’s
government. The Taliban were two decades ago deposed by American troops.
According to Anyakun, Uganda expects to host the refugees temporarily for three
months or longer with the emergency landing of the first group expected
anytime. The first batch of 500 was expected in the country on Monday evening
but these have not landed to date.
Lugazi Municipality MP Stephen Sserubula questioned why the government
was only talking about Afghan refugees and not Ugandans stranded in
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Richard Kizito Lumu, the Mityana South MP said that the Ministry of Foreign
Affairs has to also focus more on Ugandans abroad than the well-being of
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Noah Wanzaala, the Nakasongola County MP also questioned the government’s plan
towards refugee-hosting communities.
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Government is next week expected to present a comprehensive
statement to parliament on the proposal to host Afghan refugees following
Wednesday's directive by Deputy Speaker Anita Among.