x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Ambassador refuses to deny resignation reports

The expatriates complained the ambassador spent too much time in Uganda and that the embassy had neglected to help Ugandans in prison.

ABU DHABI // Uganda’s ambassador to the UAE yesterday refused to confirm or deny reports he has resigned.

“They say I have resigned but I am here,” said Prof Semakula Kiwanuka, after answering a call to the embassy’s phone number.

He said he was aware of widespread reports in the Ugandan press and on radio claiming he had offered his resignation but insisted these were “misleading” as he was still in Abu Dhabi.

The reports said he had tendered his resignation but it had not yet been accepted by Uganda’s president, Yoweri Museveni. Prof Kiwanuka refused to comment when asked if this was the case.

He has been ambassador since the embassy opened in 2009.

Ugandans living and working in Dubai last year petitioned the country’s parliament, protesting against what they claimed was neglect by the embassy. The debate over the petition was popular on Ugandan radio talk shows, which often featured the ambassador.

The expatriates also complained that the ambassador spent too much time in Uganda and that the embassy had neglected to help Ugandans in prison.

They expressed anger over excessive bureaucracy in issuing travel documents and said the embassy did nothing to help workers lured to the Emirates by dishonest recruitment companies.

Last week, a five-member delegation from the Ugandan parliament came to Dubai to investigate the complaints and met a group of Ugandans in Deira who were among the first people to sign the petition.

ykakande@thenational.ae