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CHANGE OF GUARDS – Uganda is host to the world’s 3rd largest population of refugees. The close to 1.5m refugees originate from South Sudan, DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, Somalia and Eritrea. The woes of the top refugee generating countries, Sudan and  DRC can be attributed to Museveni’s regional military expeditions. Among other motivations for  his so-called liberal refugee policy is the desire to attract the US Dollar in form of aid to refugees. That is why in around 2018, a grand scam involving inflation of refugee numbers to the tune of 0.3m was unearthed. It is an open secret that refugees in Uganda frequently travel to and from their countries of origin for reasons ranging from casual visits to cross-border trade. Some so-called refugees, after being registered in Uganda, return to their home countries where they settle and only occasionally briefly return to Uganda whenever there is issuance of relief aid or other forms of personal documentation requiring their personal presence. Security, Immigration and officers manning the border points facilitate these travels at a fee. 

With the global COVID-19 pandemic and his arbitrary total lockdown, he closed all borders and suspended reception of refugees for a period of one month. No country that has ratified the UN refugee convention can neither postpone the reception nor close its border against genuine refugees running away from imminent danger. However, as outlined in the previous paragraph, it’s only possible with economic immigrants seeking better economic opportunities.  However, fresh batches of refugees continued flocking in while the already existing one kept moving to and from their countries of origin. Consequently, the first refugee COVID-19 positive case was registered around March and involved a Burundian refugee who had sneaked from Nakivale camp to Dar Es Salaam in Tanzania via the Mutukula border post. 

Around late June, through his Minister of Internal Affairs, Museveni moved to blackmail the West;
      “If the international community will not cooperate with us to get a solution on how to manage these refugees, we might have to be forced to return them back to their countries. Because we don’t have the money. As a government, our budgets are very lean.”

The blackmail came at a time some 45,000 Congolese had reportedly been displaced by the mid May clashes in the Ituri Provinces and had sought refuge around Mahagi. Museveni wanted to tap into this opportunity by opening the floodgates. He ordered for the opening of the Uganda’s border with DRC in Zombo District from 1st to 3rd July. The move brought disappointing results where only an estimated 3,050 Congolese refugees entered Uganda through Gulajo and Mount Zeu border points.  The new entrants were taken into quarantine at Zeudu Farm Institute whose total population now stands at around 6,000 new arrivals (including those who had been arriving before the temporary opening). Prompt tests for COVID-19 among these new arrivals has so far captured some 44 positive cases.

In a related development, UNHCR and WFP has used one billion shillings to the aid of the 42,694 urban refugees in Kampala alone.  So far, they have given out cash aid via mobile money to a total of 4,950 such families (13.618 individuals) to cater for non food items and a one month rent. In the same regard, a total of 355 refugees were helped to secure SIM Cards. 

However, by claiming a figure of 28,543 new arrivals between April and May alone (when the borders had been closed), it looks like a good catch and a bargain chip for his refugee Dollar. 


—— AUTO – GENERATED; Published (Halifax Canada Time AST) on: July 08, 2020 at 11:01AM

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