KAMPALA —The Deputy Attorney General Jackson Karugaba Kafuuzi has held discussions with Amb Abbey Walusimbi, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs as government moves to verify the processes and authenticity of the different labour externalization companies in Uganda.
Kafuuzi and Amb. Walusimbi discussed the need for a collective approach to harmonize labour externalization to which the Attorney General guided that there is need to identify those countries with best practices in the field of labour externalization for potential benchmarks.
“There is never a law that can’t be amended if those modifications are providing a better solution to existing problems. We are happy and open to engage all concerned parties to craft laws that protect our citizens who seek work abroad, the licensed companies that give them these opportunities and the interests of the state, ” the Deputy Attorney General guided.
The Attorney General of Uganda is the principal legal adviser to the government of Uganda. The office of the attorney general, is a cabinet-level government position in the country.
On his part, Ambassador Walusimbi who since appointment launched a crack down on trafficking of Ugandans in the name of employment of opportunities said his office has obtained intelligence briefs, noting that some of the licensed companies have demonstrated that they really have strived to put in place and follow clear processes and guidelines set by Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development which include stationing liaison personnel at the companies in the middle east where our children are recruited to work, and these people act as the primary contact persons for our people the moment they have challenges with their employers.
On the issue of the Ugandan embassy not being available for the Ugandans in distress, Amb. Walusimbi said that although the Embassy is responsible for all citizens in a particular location, “we cannot entirely hold its staff responsible for even those who use short cuts to enter those countries”.
“Labour externalization is a Presidential project through which H.E. President Museveni sought to better the lives of his bazzukulu by giving them exposure to other ways of living so that they bring home better attitudes and expertise, which is why government put in place clear procedures and regulations through its ministries to ensure that all its citizens who travel abroad for work are known and can be traced by the embassy in case they need help. However, when someone goes into a country without the knowledge of the government and doesn’t report to the embassy it becomes hard to even know they are in that space. So, when people like these realize they are in a country but didn’t go through the known channels yet they have challenges, they fear to even reach out to their first line of protection whin in this case is the embassy, and then resort to digital platforms to seek public sympathy.” Amb. Walusimbi
He added: “To our Migrant workers, I request that you keep in contact with the personnel and directors of the companies that connected you to your current employers, endeavor to do your work right but do not take any form of abuse. In case any of your employers tries to make you go against your contractual duties, before you post your challenges to social media, be patriotic and kindly reach out to your company’s liaison officer/supervisor, or the contacts in the Uganda office, or the embassy and my office too because we are here to work together for the protection and upholding of your rights as fellow Ugandans, ” Amb. Walusimbi added.
He further urged the migrant workers to put in practice the skills they obtain from the 14 days training they receive before travelling, and also keep an open attitude to learn as much as they can from the people they work for or interact with skills that will help better their lives when they return home.
Although the industry is experiencing a tough moment, all hope is not lost as Deputy Attorney General Hon Kafuuzi and Senior Presidential Advisor on Diaspora Affairs Amb Walusimbi said, there is a wealth of good practices out there which we can borrow from to better our migrant worker’s experience.