Lawmakers have called for immediate action from leaders across the African continent to stem the increasing xenophobic attacks in South Africa.
Violence against immigrants broke out in South Africa on Sunday and has sparked angry reactions across the continent, with Nigeria suspending operations of South African owned businesses.
In his communication to the House on Thursday, 05 September 2019, the Deputy Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah, said the situation is worrying and warned that it will escalate if not addressed.
“Something has got to be done. All these things eventually have got ramifications; you see what a country in West Africa has decided to do in retaliation. We don’t want this situation happening in Africa,” said Oulanyah.
He called on African governments to get interested in discussions to find lasting solutions to immigration and immigrants.
“Our own people have been affected as Ugandans. Several citizens of other countries have been affected. If we continue like this, it will excite other people who never had a problem with this situation to also start acting the same, which will be disastrous,” Oulanyah said.
He said that some countries have a subtle way of handling immigrants, such as using visa restrictions, which does not culminate into violence.
Hon Muwanga Kivumbi (DP, Butambala County) challenged African governments to address the high youth unemployment saying that shortage of jobs has forced young people into other countries in search of better opportunities.
“The global village is becoming narrower. In America, there is a huge debate on immigration and closing of borders; when you see what is driving Brexit, it is intolerance. The world is closing in,” said Muwanga Kivumbi.
Hon. Cecilia Ogwal (FDC, Dokolo district) demanded for an explanation from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs on the safety of Ugandans in South Africa.
“We are seeing in the media what is happening but they cannot give us the information,” said Cecilia Ogwal.
Hon. Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda (FDC, Kira Municipality) asked government to provide statistics of Ugandans currently in South Africa.
“We need to know those who are safe and those who need immediate help,” said Ssemujju Nganda.
Hon. Jacquiline Amongin, Woman MP Ngora district who is also a member of the Pan African Parliament (PAP) said that what is happening in South Africa is regrettable and affects the African continent.
“The xenophobia in South Africa is uncalled for and we condemn it. It is very important for us to know that South Africa hosts many institutions of the African Union and safety of all Africans while there is not guaranteed,” she said.