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The Diaspora Debate | The Ugandan Diaspora Community Petitions Internal Affairs Ministry to Change Dual Citizenship Law

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Posted November 19, 2013 by Ugandan Diaspora News Team in Citizenshiip and Immigration ~ 11,015 views

     

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Last year a group of 4 Ugandans petitioned the Uganda Government to change the law concerning Dual Citizenship. With the elections around the corner and given the contributions of the Diaspora community to our national economy its time for our government to address this issue. Below is a summary of the law and why we think we might need a Judicial Review to help us interpret the constitutionality of this law.

The Ugandan Diaspora Community petitioned the Ministry of Internal Affairs in a bid to change the Citizenship and Immigration Control (Amendments) Act 2009. The goal is to obtain 10,000 signatures in a petition that aims to compel the Minister of Internal Affairs and the Government of Uganda to amend the Citizenship and Immigration Control (amendments) Act 2009.

The goal is to compel the Government of Uganda to change the Citizenship and Immigration Control (amendments) Act 2009 which currently requires:

  • Ugandan citizens who desire dual citizenship from another country must first give written notice to the National Citizenship Board in Kampala. Failure to do so leads to the loss of Ugandan citizenship. Individuals must then re-apply to become Ugandans, the country of their heritage.
  •  Children born of Ugandan parents living abroad, who naturally acquire citizenship of foreign countries either by virtue of birth or parents dual citizenship, are not  considered Ugandan. As such, these children are not eligible to apply for Ugandan citizenship until they are 18 years old. These children, Ugandan by heritage, can only study or conduct business in Uganda on foreigners’ permits, and are thus treated as foreigners in the country they call home.
  • An application fee of US $500 per person be paid to re-acquire Ugandan citizenship. As the Ugandan diaspora community contribute significantly to the Ugandan economy, Ugandan diaspora representatives believe they should not be subjected to this levy.

– See more at: http://www.ugandandiasporanews.com/2013/11/11/the-diaspora-community-petitions-the-internal-affairs-ministry-in-a-bid-to-change-citizenship-and-immigration-laws-in-uganda/#sthash.6jJJG5sX.dpuf

Petition – http://www.change.org/petitions/gen-aronda-nyakairima-minister-of-internal-affairs-republic-of-uganda-change-the-citizenship-and-immigration-control-amendments-act-2009-requirements-for-dual-citizenship?share_id=hKmmDClDmo&utm_campaign=friend_inviter_chat&utm_medium=facebook&utm_source=share_petition&utm_term=permissions_dialog_false

Friends and supporters,

We have confirmation that next week, our petition will be brought to the attention of the Speaker of Parliament Hon. R. B. Kadaga. Keep up the momentum, and encourage those who have not yet signed up to join us in making history.

For further information please contact Petitioners;
Joseph K. Kamara (Australia). email: kihikawakamara@yahoo.com
Steven Twinoburyo (south Africa). email: stwino@yahoo.com
Johnson Mujungu (United Kingdom).email:johnsonmujungu@yahoo.com
Ronnie Mayanja (USA).email: ronnie.mayanja@gmail.com

We are looking for representatives in Europe, the Scandnavia and Asia. If you live in these areas, please get in touch.

APPENDIX III: Feedback comments from those who have signed and visited the link above!

1. “I have children born abroad who consider Uganda to b their motherland. They are born to two
Ugandan parents both born in Uganda with citizenship. I don’t understand why they can’t get
automatic Ugandan citizenship. Every child in the UK born to a mother with residence gets
automatic UK citizenship. We need 2nd generation diaspora to carry on developing Uganda like
their parents.” Juliet, UK.

2. “Having dual citizenship doesn’t make you less a Ugandan; we share the same heritage and it is
mutually beneficial. Children in the diaspora shouldn’t be denied a sense of their belonging, and it
is my hope that a dual citizenship law is incorporated that recognizes every Ugandan with foreign
citizenship at no cost. The Citizenship and Immigration control act 2009 should be amended or
changed all together. Thank you.” Patrick, USA

3. “I’ve been trying to get dual citizenship over the last 3 years! I get a different story/ different
requirements with each new High Commissioner”. Christine, South Africa

4. “The issue affects me personally and my family as well as a lot of my friends.” Edward, California

5. “It is our right to maintain our Uganda citizenship, and so do our children born in diaspora, until
we or they renounce it.” Edgar, South Africa.

6. “It will make life very hard for our people living abroad to be able to travel back home. Most
important for our children- the future, It is important to have a connection at an early age.”
Anita, UK.

7. “This directly affects me and my future heritage” Henry, Uganda

8. “Why should one have to reapply for citizenship when their family, ancestry, culture, values
and beliefs are of the country?” Abed, UK.

9. “The innate importance of being born Ugandan and the contributions Ugandans abroad make to
the economy should have been considered before any stringent dual citizenship laws were
enacted. Ugandans, wherever they find themselves should feel like they belong to their
motherland.” Andrew, Canada.

10. “It’s simply not fair to the diaspora community that financially contributes unreservedly to the
Ugandan economy. It’s our birth right to have the Ugandan citizenship without any strings
attached to it, irrespective as to whether one attains another citizenship or not.” Richard, USA.

11. “I was born and raised in Uganda. I grew up studied, worked, married, and had children in
Uganda. My seven siblings, my parents, as well as my multiple cousins, uncles, aunties, nieces,
nephews, etc. are in Uganda. That I live in the USA today does not strip me of my heritage and I
do not think …Uganda should….. We who live in these otherwise foreign lands are here for
different reasons. Some of those reasons are economical, educational, or otherwise and lack of
belonging is not one of them. Whatever the case, we remain Ugandans. It is something that we
instil in our children every day and to learn that the Immigration and Citizenship Act seeks to
exclude us is appalling. … One important reason that I know is that there are several
opportunities one can access that are crucial and vital for life in such nations which would
otherwise be hard to come by devoid of such status. That such opportunities often elude us in
our motherland, sometimes for reasons beyond any one’s or the government’s ability, it is
important to many of us that given the choice between going without such opportunities without
changing citizenry and vice-versa, some of us choose to do the latter well knowing that whatever
the case, we will always belong to Uganda. I personally left Uganda with an education that when I
got here was almost worthless. Since becoming a welcomed citizen of this nation that I live in, I
have been blessed to go back to school and add to my education to a point where I feel like a well
prepared workman who can ably and positively contribute to my new country and to Uganda at
the same time, something that could have been impossible without going the route I did. I have
always told my peers that at the end of it all, I see myself going back to Uganda to make myself of
service to my community. Never had it crossed my mind that my own folk would make it difficult
for reasons best known to them. It is therefore important to me that this law be not just
amended but put right. After all, there are many opportunities that such foreign nations offer to
the adding of value to the citizens that happen to be Ugandans first and which opportunities
would otherwise be hard to come by if such citizens were barred to live as dual citizens. Left as it
is, the only noticeable thing this law does is deprive Uganda of the opportunity to utilize these
dual citizens, whose value, be it academically, professionally, economically, or otherwise, has
been enhanced by the opportunities such secondary citizenship has offered. So I support
amendment.” Helen, USA.

12. “I have children who were born while I am in Diaspora. It is very expensive to pay $400 if I
am to reapply to get my citizenship which I am entitled” Peter, South Africa.

13. “I am Ugandan first and every other citizenship I choose to add second, regardless of whether
the Ugandan government chooses to deny me my birth right.” Deborah, UK.

14. “If these countries who give us citizenship don’t ask us to renounce our original citizenship, why
does our mother land strip it from us well knowingly that whatever we earn is sent back to
Uganda to develop our country. Where is the logic, they need to know that it circumstances like
having a good job, you need to be a citizen so that’s why we have acquired the 2nd citizenship
and probably better medical care. Please kindly think again, Uganda is ours all. For God & My
Uganda” Moses, UK.

15. “In my mind I will always be Ugandan first and will appreciate it if that is not taken away from me
and my children.” Lynette, USA

16. “I have my family in Uganda and I would like to keep the contact, my children would love to have
a belonging too!” Fred, Norway.

17. “It is every Ugandan constructional right to bear children who are Ugandans wherever they are
born in the world.” Patrick, United Kingdom

18. “Our love for Uganda and the financial contributions that we make as Diaspora’s to its
development makes us an important resource for our motherland. Our citizenship should never
be nullified by these thoughtless policies.” Moses, United Kingdom.

19. “The law in its current form is anti-diaspora and tends to keep us and our children out of our
heritage without our consent. This in itself may not stand a constitutional test as I doubt
anybody has a right to take away somebody’s citizenship that was acquired by birth or heritage
without the concerned people renouncing it themselves.” Steven, South Africa.
20. “The controls the proposed law imposes are unjustifiable. A citizen is a citizen.” Simon, Kampala.

21. “I am a parent outside Uganda and my contribution to Uganda is too enormous to be subjected
to more scrutiny by the same people benefiting from my struggles while outside Uganda. We
also need benefits for what the country is benefiting from our sweat.” Christopher, South
Africa.
22. “I need to retain my birth rights.” Winfred, Kenya.

23. “This should not take precedent as it looks unfair for some or most of us as it was not our fault.”
Sonia, United Kingdom

24. “I have many relatives abroad affected by this law.” Clovis, Uganda.

25. “It is not fair…..period.” Donald, United Kingdom.

26. “Uganda stands to lose in disowning its very own.” Peter, Uganda.

27. “I have relatives and friends in the diaspora for who I care.” John, Uganda.

28. “Dual citizenship bridges the dual cultural aspect in a person. Especially for the second, third etc.
generations born abroad.” Jacob, Germany.

29. “I think this is not the first time this topic has come up. Fellow Ugandans we deserve our rights to
be Nationals of Uganda if you if you were born in Uganda and hold Birth certificate or born by
decent. Secondly our children follow the lineage of their descendants henceforth, if say I was
born by parents are from Uganda and my children are born in UK, they have a right to choose
where they belong when they reach the adult age which is 18 to make their own independent
choices. As long as they are under the age limit, they remain Ugandans. So fellow colleagues in
the Diaspora the registration to the board is like one is being charged a levy for claiming for his
own rights of citizenship and this should not be the case.” Bright, United Kingdom.

30. “I think that Ugandan’s in the diaspora are a great asset and they should be allowed to fully
participate in the activities of our nation as citizens beyond just sending home remittances.”
Joseph, United Kingdom.

31. “So, will I be able to vote in Uganda too?” Awichu, USA.

33. “This is a just cause.” Joseph, Rwanda

34. “They should, with immediate effect, waive the $50 visa entry fee to all Ugandan born who have
acquired dual citizenship. Duality means you enjoy both worlds, all they have to do is put
notations in the US, UK, or any other passport that returning Ugandan’s hold.” Ed, United
States.

35. “Am a diasporan and love my country land.” Harriet, Sweden.

36. “I want the rules changed so that my contribution to Uganda’s development is unhindered.”
Masai, United Kingdom.

37. “Diaspora citizens are contributing a lot to our economy and representing our country abroad.
They deserve better.” Samuel, Uganda.
38. “I don’t understand why the high commissions aren’t allowed to process duo citizenship, you can
only do it in Uganda. I tried to get mine processed while in Uganda a month ago but it was
taking so long I just had to leave without it being completed. Firstly the lines at the office are
ridiculously long with trying to get passports and ill-equipped staff. Apparently the delay in
processing is caused by some board that has to sit and decide; sometimes this board will not
convene because members are away.” Ivan, Canada.

39. “I believe everybody has a right to be a Ugandan regardless whether you are born in America or
UK. It is unfair to tell me that my child can become a Ugandan after tuning 18 Years. Uganda
belongs to all of us.” Juma, United Kingdom.

40. “Because I am originally from Uganda but have been in living in the USA for a long time. I would
love to maintain my Uganda citizens because I hope to return to Uganda one day and live
there!” Joy, USA.

41. “I was born in the USA to Ugandan parents. I consider myself both a Ugandan and an
American….” Ruth, USA.

42. “I am still a Ugandan and no law should strip me of my Ugandan citizenship. I contribute and
invest in Uganda’s economy and should be able to have rights like any other law abiding
Ugandan.” Nelson, Canada.

43. “Born, raised, educated, married to a Ugandan in Uganda. We are as Ugandan as they come –
from cradle to grave! We love and are proud of our heritage and we don’t want to lose any of it
or our birth rights. As international organizations professionals, Uganda has benefitted from our
experience and our children may be Americans by birth but they are Ugandans by heritage.
They love Uganda as much as they love us, their parents! Where we go, they go; where we
belong, they belong! Uganda shouldn’t alienate them, PLEASE! We may have lived and worked
abroad but our and our children’s hearts and minds are in Uganda. We have more investments
in Uganda than outside plus many more reasons.” Fredrick, Switzerland.

44 “Am in total agreement and in addition, they should not stop Ugandan with dual citizenship from
running for government offices. We train abroad to replicate skills back home. Let’s keep
speaking up!” Angella, USA.

45. “To treat Ugandans the same way non-Ugandans are treated at the airport, when they return is
grossly unfair. For one’s country of birth/descent to be that cold towards them, while it is very
open for others is a very sad thing for the country. Ugandans deserve better from their
country.” Brain, Uganda.
46. “I have children born in the UK with UK and Ugandan heritage. They feel so strongly about being
Ugandan. Why do we have to change things?” Arthur, United Kingdom.

47. “As the spouse of a man born and raised in Uganda, who is a property owner and heavily
invested in the success of the country, as am I, then I strongly believe that the removal of any
and all such hindrances that would prevent business growth and job creation be lifted. Why
punish those who contribute so much to the county, if not only to create isolated profit based
off of more bureaucratic redundancy?” Jennifer, USA.

48. “Some of polices are typical of reductionist thinking, but that time has been and gone. We need
to be more involved in the implementation of polices that directly affect us.” Francis, Australia.
49. “No one has a right to deny or sell to anyone his / her birth right.” Godfrey, United Kingdom.

50. “The decision to acquire citizenship of another country was forced upon me by the
circumstances prevailing in my motherland. At heart I remain a Ugandan.” James, Botswana.

51. “Although not a Ugandan National, I have seen the great ambassadors that expat Ugandans are
for the country. I encourage you to support them in their movements in a more and more
internationalised community. They represent Uganda with pride, and I encourage you to be
proud of them too.” Steven, United Kingdom.

52. “I think procedure of notifying Uganda on other citizenship is necessary, but let it not be
bureaucratic. Can we have an online notification system or do it at our embassies.’ Ayeta,
Tanzania.

53. “Am a Ugandan born in Uganda and my children are Ugandans even though born here in
Canada…I annually contribute to the development of Uganda through my (The … Sports
Foundation)….I help hundreds of children and their families in Uganda and I do so because as a
Ugandan I feel an obligation to help my country develop. My children are a big part of the
reason I started my foundation and so am against any measure to restrict my children from
being proud of their heritage especially in light of the fact that they are constantly at risk of
being westernized and losing their Ugandan culture.” Steven, Canada.

54. “I am a Ugandan with children who are born outside Uganda; we do not want to lose our
citizenship or rights as Ugandans. I have a family in Uganda, it is where I was born and raised,
God willing I will retire and be buried in Uganda.” Grace, United Kingdom.


About the Author

Ugandan Diaspora News Team

Ugandan Diaspora News Online is an independent, non political news portal primarily aimed at serving Ugandans who work and reside outside Uganda. Our aim is to be a one stop shop for everything Ugandan and the celebration of our Ugandan heritage.

22 Comments


  1.  

    Even in my foreign passport, its indicated am of Uganda origin. So why be denied by Motherland administration? Frank USA




  2.  

    This is ridiculous and can’t be accepted in this modern world. How can u explain to my kids that they are not Ugandan yet the Farher holds a Ugandan passport just because they were not born in Kampala thus have to wait till they are 18yrs. This is unfair and needs to be changed and let at no cost any Ugandan born lose citizenship no matter where he lives. Abrams , Canada .




  3.  
    Robert

    This is so unfair to our children , My child was born in china and in china being born there doesn’t qualify you to be a citizen,Its coz her mother is Australian and the child had a right to get the Australian citizenship.I just imagine in that case what if my wife was a Ugandan ,where would the child belong ?
    Rob Australia




  4.  
    Jimson Nsubuga

    Great courage fellow country men.I am a resident of Botswana and I have too faced the same challenge. Kindly how can we join your momentum Or what do we need to do so that our voice can be combined to yours?
    Jimson Nsubuga
    Gaborone, Botswana




  5.  
    Andrew

    Living in North America, it doesn’t mean that,am not a Ugandan. I deserve all my rights, because we contributed a lot, in Ugandan’s economy. Andrew. Canada




  6.  
    Paul Kavuma

    Though I live in USA,,,I deserve my Ugandan rights because,,,thanks




  7.  
    Richard Sensalo

    i support this noble cause for the benefit of the entire Ugandan Diaspora Community.




  8.  
    Fred Kasule

    Like most Ugandans my emigration into the diaspora followed economic opportunity. I cannot believe that the country of my birth only regards me as a revenue source. Those in power–who also lived in exile for a while–enacted a dual citizenship law because it does not impact them and their families. They are the ruling class now. Nothing incenses me like paying for a visa to enter Uganda. Uganda in the diaspora remit almost $1 billion back to Uganda. That is a full 15-20% of GDP. Now they want us to pay $400 for a passport which costs $60 in the U.S.! They clearly don’t want us anymore. We might challenge their political hegemony.




  9.  
    Harriet

    I ve read the article above and totally agree but i Think you quote the wrong figure. ´The cost of dual Citizenship is now 500 dollars it means the price has gone up by 100 dollars. I was in UG this january and have actually seen the certificate of dual citizenship.
    Sweden




  10.  

    No Ugandan abroad should pay for re-becoming a Citizen of Uganda. Let our leglature make laws that will stand the test of time.




  11.  

    I fully support this move. We deserve better treatment in our country.




  12.  
    Charles Baguma

    I agree with your petition




  13.  
    Desire Mawa

    Yea, this is unacceptable, a call for a strong resistance. Uganda is our only country we all home.




  14.  
    JCLB

    I never chose to b Ugandan..God did….no one…en i repeat maself…noh one cn tk dat right frm mi nor ms Children…Dey ur Americanz bah also Ugandan.. no one en noh one cn change dat…
    Its by Godz right…let any law rule dat out




  15.  
    Jennifer Nsubuga

    Thank you for putting this together. Keep us informed.




  16.  
    Rev. Joseph Kamugisha

    Dual citizenship is a human right. One should not be subjected by any given regime to beg to belong or not to belong. Besides, in 2010 during the UNAA convention in Chicago, one representative of the Ministry of IA, assured the delegates that the process had been finalized, pending the Presidents office approval. When Museveni was recently asked about the same, he referred the matter to parliament! Looks like there is a ping pong game going on among the bureaucrats. The Ugandan diaspora wants action and service from the biggest beneficiaries of our remittances, not games.




  17.  

    After fighting for a better Uganda for 15 years of my youth, how do you expect me to pay to become Ugandan again?!




  18.  
    H. Musoke

    Does anyone know where this petition is so I can sign up? I was furious at whatever her name is, here at our local Ugandan Consulate in Washington DC, for rattling off all the fees and expenses I have to foot just to go home and visit my family. Apart from a visa to the country I was born in, but now I have to subject myself to invasive procedures and shots of yellow fever, malaria and other things that didn’t kill me while I was growing up in Uganda but will now kill me instantly when I set foot in Uganda because I haven’t been in the country for a while. Let’s say I die of one those, which I won’t, I will be right at my burial site, so what’s the problem? When I protested, she reminded me to believe her because it was for my own good. Where do I sign please? We work so hard to be ripped off by our own.




  19.  
    Myra

    I would like to say… Uganda’s love for money/revenue is one reason why we people pay for such shitty laws.Took my 3yr old son to visit his grandmother and perhaps learn our culture/heritage n language for 6mths in uganda when it ws time to pick him ;there were all these immigration charges for the extra days he stayed in uganda since he isn’t considered ugandan..and per day $100 for extra 3months guess how much that is!! Just to rip off people is what this law ws meant to do.





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