KAMPALA/DUBAI: The government recalled its Ambassador to United Arab Emirates (UAE), Ms Nimisha Madhvani, for fear that her slavery allegations against the oil-rich state may jeopardize its investments in Uganda, PML Daily has learnt.
In a letter dated April 10, Ambassador Isaac Sebulime on behalf of the Foreign Affairs Permanent Secretary, said Nimisha was being recalled to Kampala for “consultations”.
“I have been directed to instruct you to report to the headquarters immediately for consultations. You should hand over to Mr Sam Omara who will be in charge of the mission as Charge De’Affaires while you are away,” wrote Ambassor Sebulime.
And now it has emerged that Nimisha, who is a Ugandan of India descent, had to be recalled after the UAE government protested to Kampala that she was stoking diplomatic tensions following allegations that Ugandan workers in the country were being sold to slavery markets.
The ambassador’s troubles are said to have begun last month when she invited Ugandan MPs to UAE to observe firsthand what where she claimed was evidence of Ugandan girls being sold in slave markets there.
The legislators are said to have been enraged by what they saw in the UAE, forcing them to raise the concern to the Ministry for Internal Affairs officials who were appearing before the Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs in April 18.
Particularly, the remarks were raised by Butambala County MP Muwanga Kivumbi who said during their trip to Abu Dhabi, they learnt with shock how “Ugandan girls were being sold like commodities.”
“We have just come from Abu Dhabi and we found that slavery is going on and most of these workers go through Nairobi and Entebbe on visas. Within 7months, 16 girls have committed suicide, and three girls don’t have where to stay and one of them is already battling mental illness,” Mr Kivumbi said.
This is said to have enraged UAE officials, who petitioned government.
Sources said government moved to recall Nimisha as part of efforts to attract investors from UAE.
President Museveni in November last year met Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and urged his government to come and invest in Uganda.
Mr Museveni in January promised to donate 27 square miles of land in Mbarara District to a United Arab Emirates investor to set up model farm in the country. The investor, Dr Ahmed Eltigani Al Mansourie, will bring in new technology to fertilise cows that produce high milk, according to a press release from State House.
In October last year, at least 50 Ugandans were reported to have lost their lives in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and neighboring countries of Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait.
According to a report from UAE Mission, 35 of the registered 48 deaths were as a result of suicide.
The deaths resulting from suicide are linked to frustrating and unbearable working conditions in these Arab countries where Ugandans have been recruited to work as casual labourers.
Apart from suicide, others have died of accidents, cardiac arrest, murder, drowning, and other diseases like Meningitis, HIV and liver failure among others.