Landlords now prefer refugee tenants to Ugandans - MP Ssewanyana

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Landlords now prefer refugee tenants to Ugandans - MP Ssewanyana
Ssewanyana

The Makindye West MP says there is an influx of refugees in Kampala, notably in his constituency, adding that they are almost overtaking the population of the residents there.

PARLIAMENT | Makindye West MP Allan Ssewanyana has said landlords in Kampala are increasingly preferring refugee tenants to locals because the former can afford paying rent.

Ssewanyana made the claims during the presentation of the Committee on Equal Opportunities' report, recommending a review of the refugee policy to curtail their inflow to a sustainable level.

The legislator said there is an influx of refugees in Kampala, notably in his constituency, adding that they are almost overtaking the population of the residents there.

He observed that most of the refugees are well-off compared to the residents, reason landlords prefer to rent their houses to the former.

“Most of these people have too much money to avail themselves with good houses, good food and everything good they need in life," he said.

"Of course, this has brought houses and the landlords there do not wish to accommodate residents of Ugandan decent, preferring Eritreans because they come along with so much money to afford their houses and now the houses are becoming too expensive for our people,” Ssewanyana said.

The legislator told Parliament that his constituents have been complaining and asking government to do something about the refugee influx.

“They (constituents) have been complaining to us. Can’t government control these people, at least in one place or one area because they are going everywhere now. They come and overtake a flat of over 50 tenants for themselves. It’s not their fault but the standards of living they have created there is too high.” the legislator said.

Ssewanyana (backrow right) in Parliament.

Parliament rejects proposal to curtail refugee influx

On Thursday, the Committee on Equal Opportunities deputy chairperson, Dorcas Acen, presented a report recommending a review of the refugee policy to curtail their inflow to a sustainable level.

“The committee strongly recommends that government revises its refugee policy to forestall a probable long-term conflict resulting from over flow of refugees and underfunding resulting from cuts in budgetary support from donors,” the report reads in part.

However, Parliament rejected the report, citing many loopholes in it.

The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Tayebwa, referred the report back to the committee, saying it requires a clean-up.

“I do not want us to break news here that Parliament has stopped refugees," Tayebwa said. "It is our obligation under international laws to host refugees. We cannot stop someone who is running away from war from entering our country."

The Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, John Mulimba, said the recommendation on curtailing refugees from entering Uganda is in discord with national and international conventions on refugees, which Uganda ratified.

“In 2009, a special summit of African Union resulted in a Kampala declaration on refugees and the report seems to have a lot of discord in accordance with that declaration. Yes, we registered concerns which are indeed internal administrative issues,” he said.

The Prime Minister, Robinah Nabbanja, said that the Global Summit on Refugees in December 2023, resolved on how to manage the dwindling resources to refugee hosting districts in Uganda and that therefore the issue should not be used to justify curtailing of refugee entry to Uganda.

“During the global refugee forum in Geneva, in December 2023 Uganda was recognised because of our refugee policy, globally. In 1986, Uganda was an exporter of refugees, up to 500,000 were living in other countries around the globe and we are currently hosting 1.6 million refugees,” Nabbanja

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