Semujju Blames ‘Tired Ministers’ at OPM for Mismanagement of Refugees

FDC Spokesperson, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda speaking to journalists on Monday

Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) spokesperson, Ibrahim Semujju Nganda has attributed the challenges within the management of refugees in the country to the appointment of people of advanced age to head the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) who can not do effective supervision and monitoring.

His comments come days after reports emerged that there are cases of corruption, human rights abuses and falsification of refugees’ numbers within the Office of the Prime Minister.

Semujju argued that the Prime Minister, Dr Ruhakana Rugunda is almost making 70 years and his deputies, Moses Ali and Kirunda Kivejinja both of whom are much older who are unable to effectively supervise government business.

“There is a very big supervisory problem in OPM and one of the causes would be that we have people of advanced age. We respect old people but we think it is also important for them to respect themselves and retire because the sector now is suffering from supervision,” Semujju said at a press conference held at the party headquarters on Monday.

He said that Dr Rugunda has already approached his retirement age, which is why he and his peers are incompetent to oversee government programs.

“When we were vetting Hon. Ruhakana Rugunda, I told him at their age, they would be home which is according to the government policy of retiring when one clocks 65 years, but not turning the Ministry into a retirement desk,” he noted

He accused government of turning refugees into a commodity instead of taking care of them on humanitarian grounds.

“We went to Somalia primarily because there was money to be given by UN, I think it is the same issue with hosting refugees but not on humanitarian grounds, which is why they are being traded across borders.”

Nganda urged government to clarify on the deportation of refugees from Israel to Uganda through an agreement that was signed between the two governments.

“Yesterday I met two MPs from Israel, a one Mike Rosin and Mosi Raza, they were in Uganda after a short visit to Rwanda and the reason they came was that they are investigating reports of Israel secretly deporting refugees into Uganda and Rwanda,” Semujju revealed.

“They told me that their country has 40, 000 refugees mostly from Africa and they think, Israel being a big economy, they can handle the refugees especially the asylum seekers but they are surprised to hear and follow reports that they are being repatriated and deported to Uganda and Rwanda.”

According to Nganda, the two Israeli Ministers said that given their findings, they will be prompted to file a court case against the government of Uganda and that of Israel for violation of human rights by trading refugees against their will.

When the reports of an alleged deal between Israel and the governments of Rwanda and Uganda first emerged, both governments denied the reports. Uganda’s State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Okello Oryem described the reports as “fake news.”

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