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Activists want ban on labor exportation reinstated

By Ashraf Kasirye

Added 13th April 2017 11:48 AM

Delivering their petition to parliament, the activists led by the WAC chairperson Wafrika Mayambala, noted that the main reason for the ban, had not been solved.

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(left-right) Marks Mugisha who says he is one of the victims of those who were taken to South Africa through illegal means and faced arrest, Mayambala Wafrika the chairperson of world wide African Congress and his deputy Damba Musisi while walking to parliament to deliver their petition to the committee of Internal Affairs.Photo/ Ashraf Kasirye

Human Rights activists under their umbrella body Worldwide African congress (WAC) have petitioned the parliamentary committee on foreign affairs demanding for the reinstatement of the ban on exportation of housemaids to the Middle East.
Delivering their petition to parliament, the activists led by the WAC chairperson Wafrika Mayambala, noted that the main reason for the ban, had not been solved.

"The ministry had to first investigate all companies that export labor from Uganda to the Middle East, rescue all Ugandans suffering out there and also revise the process of licensing these companies. But all this has not been done, we are only seeing the ban lifted" Mayambala said.

On March 10, the minister of gender labor and social development Jant Mukwaya while at Uganda media center delivered a statement that officially removed the ban which had been imposed by parliament in January 2016,

She said that the ban had been lifted after government put in place measures that will promote the rights of Ugandan workers abroad.

Mukwaya added that those seeking to go abroad for work will sign a four party employment contract to be signed both in Uganda and recipient country among other conditions.

She also said that government had done what it takes to make the working environment safe for Ugandan girls and that government was going to establish a robust monitoring office in Saudi Arabia's capital of Riyadh to address any concerns that may emerge thereafter.

Mayambala says that Mukwaya refused to disclose the clauses and terms in the agreements which government signed with Saudi Arabia and Jordan and that she also refused to give clear reasons that justified the removal of the ban.

"Our embassies have not done enough to save the suffering Ugandans and the ministry of labor has taken no action to follow up the status of those exported for labor, what they do, how they live and where they work once they get there" Said Mayambala.

One of the petitioners was one Marks Mugisha who says him and other 25 Ugandans were taken to South Africa by a Ugandan called Meddy Kaggwa, only to reach there and begin being forced to do indecent jobs like prostitution and sodomy.

He said he managed to break through and ran to South African Authorities who worked with the Ugandan embassy in South Africa and arrested Kaggwa who is now in prison and his case is being heard in South Africa.

"Next month am going back to South Africa to be a witness in court, but even if we win this case against the man who trafficked us, many other Ugandans are still out there in the Middle East and other parts of the world, languishing yet others have died of torture." He said.

Mayambala said that they also want parliament to investigate the ministry of labor and how it gives out licenses to companies that export labor, and force them to restructure the process making it transparent for every Ugandan.

The chairperson of the committee on foreign affairs Mutonyi Rose Masaba the MP Bubuulo West said that their cause is good, but the committee needs to engage with the ministry of labor first before making a decision, and ask them why they reversed the ban.

She said that if they find out that the ban was lifted in defiance of the parliamentary decision without good reasons, parliament will take swift action.

The activists were also asked to return to parliament next Tuesday with more victims about their claims and more evidence on what they allege against the ministry of labor.

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