Government through the ministry of Foreign Affairs has said that Ugandans being persecuted on China are those involved in a string of illegal activities including; drug trafficking, theft and refusal to pay bills.
Last week, social media was a wash with lamentation from a litany of Ugandans regarding what they called mistreatment and discrimination from Chinese authorities.
This followed a memo from one of the hotels in Guangzhou quoting a higher level notice barring them from receiving guests of Ugandan or Nigerian origin.
“Dear Guests, because of the notice of receiving from higher level notice, our apartment is not allowed to receive African guests since July 5th. The guest from African countries will be asked to check out before July 6th. Please forgive me for the inconveniences I have made to you,” read a notice from Guangzhou Alger Flats.
The notice came from an earlier order by authorities banning admission of residents from “two sensitive countries involved in drug-related activities” namely; Uganda and Nigeria.
“Officers in charge of the travel industry: In accordance with the requirements of the higher authorities for the control of foreign-related drugs, you are hereby notified of the latest requirements for the administration of the travel industry as follows: 1. The whole regions tourism industry is strictly prohibited from receiving residents of Uganda and Nigeria, a sensitive drug-related country. (2) In order to conscientiously implement the request to receive foreigners at the rate of 50 of the rooms, the regions travel industry must designate the floors in which foreigners are allowed to reside, and those in excess of the specified floors shall be deemed to have committed an offence. 3. The residents of the two sensitive countries involved in drug-related activities shall be cleared within two days. On the 21st at 8:00 p.m., a spot check will be conducted and the travel industry which has not been cleaned shall immediately go through closure rectification. All units, execute it immediately,” the directive read.
Now the state minister for Foreign Affairs Okello Oreyem has confirmed allegations of Ugandans living in China being persecuted regarding their alleged involvement in the drug trafficking.
The minister however says as of Saturday last week the issue has been sorted by the Chinese government and business has returned to normal.
“This happened as a result of the increased insecurity, increased cases of theft and cases of refusal to pay rent,” Oryem said.
“The Chinese authorities asked hotels to reverse their actions and allow Ugandans and Nigerians and other African residents access hotels and restaurants because that was not the method to handle such a situation,” Oryem added.
One of the reasons that had been advanced by Chinese authorities is that several Nigerians involved in drug trafficking were found in possession of Ugandan passports.
When contacted, Uganda Immigration authorities noted that Nigerians are duplicating Ugandan passports using high technology.
“We have come across evidence that once the passport gets into wrong hands, then the criminals illegally impose another film of the similar bio data like that of the original holder but with a different passport photo, that of the impostor. The assumption is that Chinese immigration authorities can hardly differentiate between blacks,” Jacob Siminyu, PRO for immigrations stated.
Siminyu said that government is trying to solve this problem once and for all with the introduction of the new electronic passports next year to capture data and biometric features.
“The e-Passport is the most secure passport in the world. It can easily expose an impostor because it has biometric data features of the holder and cannot as such be safely held by another person because he cannot forge those biometric features and therefore makes it easy to cause arrest at the first immigration point.”
The chairman Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) Everest Kayondo decried the move by Chinese authorities to ban Ugandans from Guangzhou hotels, saying it would hamper trade relations between the two countries as well as generate losses for individual traders.
“If you are staying in a five star hotel and you have gone to source for goods, that means all the profits you get will be swept away in expenses, those expensive hotels are not good for business,” he said.