Why Uganda’s hospitality to refugees is a good strategy
Uganda’s security and stability are complemented by having hospitable people. There are very few countries on this continent that welcome people from elswhere like Uganda does. Therefore, apart from having a deliberate approach by the government to welcome and accommodate the vulnarable such as refugees from other countries, Ugandans are generally known for their hospitality and love for others. This soft stance is hardly common in the region, Africa and beyond.
In spite of the fact that Ugandans are more often than not treated inhumanely elsewhere, there are very few recorded incidences where Ugandans have acted in revenge and they don’t even intend to do so. That degree of civility is quite rare. In some neighbouring countries, Ugandans there, are innocently mistreated, incarcerated and sometimes killed without the authorities in those countries taking counteractive measures. The recent strike by truck drivers who ferry cargo to South Sudan, over killing of their colleagues, allegedly ochestrated by armed soldiers in the northern neighbour, serves to illustrate that point.
Uganda’s history of embracing and harbouring refugees and immigrants cannot be doubted anywhere in the world. In the 1960s, we had a number of refugees from neighbouring Rwanda. The Jews were also once accomodated here, although very temporarily.
About a week ago, Uganda again accepted to host a number of refugees from Afghanistan who were running away from the perceived brutality of the Taliban who seized power recently. In historical terms, this country may not have any significant attachment with the Afghan people. We know very little about them. Nevertheless, we have not hesitated to accommodate them with open hands.
There are hundreds of other refugees in this Pearl of Africa from neighbouring countries such as South Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Eritrea and others. The statistics bear me out. Uganda currently hosts the largest number of refugees in Africa – close to 1.5m, which is also the fourth largest in the world behind countries like Turkey.
Although more than 99% are from Africa and 90% from neighbouring countries, there are refugees from other continents.
My prayer is that the government of Uganda should ensure that Ugandans outside their country are equally treated with dignity, especially those who go out to seek employment opportunities.
When foreigners come here and are treated humanely, they tend to take Uganda as their homeland. They also persuade their fellow nationals to come and do business here when they communicate or go back. They also attract their fellow nationals to come and tour this country which promotes Tourism.
Even other countries that read about the way Uganda treats other people will always scramble to invest in Uganda. Others will throng Uganda for tourism, since we are already endowed with a diverse and fabulous natural environment which ranges from unique mountains, fresh water lakes, rivers, wild life, not forgetting warm weather conditions, etc. Most of us know the advantages of Foreign investment and tourism to our country.
Member, National Consultative ForumFor Political Parties and Organisations – NCF
Secretary, NCF Media Committee
Secretary General, Green Partisan Party 0700606700.