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Entebbe residents protest moving of UN base to Nairobi

By Taddeo Bwambale

Added 10th May 2018 09:37 AM

Authorities in Entebbe say they are concerned that moving the base to Kenya will significantly affect jobs and development of the area.

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Authorities in Entebbe say they are concerned that moving the base to Kenya will significantly affect jobs and development of the area.

DIPLOMACY

ENTEBBE - Residents and the business community in Entebbe town have started collecting signatures to support a petition against relocation of a United Nations base from the area to the Kenyan capital Nairobi.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres reportedly approved the plan to move their base earlier this month, but it has been protested by the Ugandan government.

Authorities in Entebbe, a fast-growing municipality in Wakiso district, said they are concerned that moving the base to Kenya will significantly affect jobs and development of the area.

 

 

Growth factor

The UN base employs over 400 workers, majority of them Ugandans. Since its establishment more than two decades ago, the facility has attracted growth, especially in the hospitality and real estate sectors.

 



One million signatures

Andrew Otage, the chairperson of the Entebbe municipal development committee representing the private sector, told New Vision that at least 10,000 Ugandans would be rendered jobless if the relocation of the base is successful.

“The eminent relocation of the UN regional support base from Entebbe to a neighbouring country threatens to adversely affect the local economy of Entebbe and Uganda,” he stated.

According to Otage, the residents, along with the business community and Ugandans in the diaspora, want to collect one million signatures to accompany their petition against the planned changes.

He said the petition would be forwarded to the UN Secretary General through the foreign affairs ministry so that the decision is rescinded.

The petitioners also want to engage development partners, including the US, China and India to lobby for Uganda to keep the base, citing her role in peacekeeping operations and refugee programmes.

Uganda is the largest contributor of troops to the UN-supported African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and currently hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa.

President Yoweri Museveni reportedly protested the planned move to shift the UN base to Nairobi in a letter to Guterres.

According to a UN report, Nairobi is the proposed new home for the UN regional centre for Africa, while Budapest, the capital of Hungary, will serve Europe and Mexico City for the Americas.

 

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