By Sandra Birungi
Residents of South Sudan living in Uganda face expulsion from the country if the legislators get their way.
Ugandans living in South Sudan were recently expelled from South Sudan and Ugandan legislators want, in retaliation, to also expel the Sudanese nationals. Despite the suggestion, Ugandan government dismissed the suggestion, saying the matter has already been discussed between the two countries.
The issue of expulsion of the S. Sudanese nationals was suggested by Gilbert Olanya said that he was saddened after meeting some 200 commercial motorcycle riders who had been expelled from South Sudan. “I met them on Sunday. They said they were from Jonglei and Eastern Equataria. They told me of how they had been harassed and tortured in South Sudan, so I decided to raise it in parliament as a matter of national concern”, Olanya said. “We demand that the Ugandan government takes steps to protect Ugandans in South Sudan who are being harassed and killed with impunity”, he added.
In August, South Sudan’s interior ministry issued an order banning foreigners from operating motorcycle taxis, commonly known as boda-bodas in the country. About 1,600 Ugandans were working in South Sudan as commercial drivers were affected by the decision.
Ugandan government spokesman Ofwono Opondo said in an interview that Uganda had already raised its concerns about the treatment of Ugandan nationals to the South Sudanese government. “We have condemned the harassment of Ugandans in South Sudan through the South Sudan embassy here and through our high commission in Juba. South Sudan has an established legal system. They should use that system to charge any Ugandan that they think has violated their laws”, he said.