UPC Calls for Visa-free Entry Within Nations of the Commonwealth

UPC Spokesperson, Michael Osinde Orach.

Opposition party, Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) has applauded government and Parliament in particular for hosting the 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) that is underway in Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Hotel.

Addressing the party’s weekly press briefing at Uganda House in Kampala, the party Spokesperson, Michael Osinde Orach said that it is a privilege that Uganda first hosted the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) in 1967 under the first UPC Government which was the 13th Conference.

Uganda is hosting the 64th CPC that started on September 22 and ends September 29 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort Hotel, under the theme, “Adaption, Engagement and Evolution of Participants in a rapidly changing Commonwealth”.

Osinde said that going by experience, a lot has happened or changed and indeed the rapidly changing Commonwealth is too demanding.

“UPC is concerned that there are issues at hand among the member states of the Commonwealth that are worrying and need to be addressed and considered in the ongoing CPC,” Osinde said.

He said that Visa application among Commonwealth countries should be made easier or else allow for free movement of people from member countries.

“At the inception of Commonwealth, all citizens of member nations were free to visit each other’s country without pre-acquisition of visas. This gave the true meaning of free movement of members within the Commonwealth of Nations, with equal privileges and opportunities as well as promoting the spirit of brotherhood,” Osinde said.

“Today, it is only British nationals that have that privilege in the former colonies. Former colonies have to apply for visas and get them prior to entry into Britain. This is against the common principles and values of the Commonwealth Nations specifically on free movement, equal privileges and opportunities of the sovereign states. We demand for visa free entry among the Nations of the Commonwealth as it was the case before.”

Osinde further called on the delegates to handle the youth question in relationship to unemployment crisis which is alarming in most of CPC member countries.

“Maybe it is Australia, Canada and Britain that are safe from it (unemployment). But globally, we are soon experiencing a youth explosion whose consequences are difficult to contemplate. We need to work very fast and avert this ticking bomb that has a potential of an equivalent of the famous “Soweto uprisings in South Africa” in 1976.”

President Yoweri Museveni is currently officiating at the official opening of the conference in Munyonyo where hundreds of delegates from Commonwealth countries are in attendance.

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