In a refugee profiling study done by the KCCA, over 100,00 refugees living in Kampala City were found to be undocumented, a concern that Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwaago attributed to Uganda’s open-door refugee policy that permits refugees to live outside their camps.
The number of those registered, mainly Somalis and Congolese, was 80,000 while many more are expected in the country due to the current friction in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In his comment, RX Radio Presenter Fatboy, opined that the policy might be a ticking time bomb that may blow up soon if left unrevised.
“These communities simply need to grow large in numbers to cause friction with local communities. I read that there were communities in Western Uganda near the DRC border that already had tension with the locals because some refugees were cultivating on people’s land or damaging their plantations. Moreso, since they have refugee status, it’s not easy for people to communicate with them,” he said.
“This could blow up into something bigger if it's allowed to go on like this. So I think we need to rethink our policy on refugees. And let's not kid ourselves that our refugee policy is inclined to humanitarian reasons because we know it's for the money which is benefitting a few,” he added.
Olive, his Co-host, was concerned about the increasing number of refugees in the city, saying that they could pose a security threat given the fact that they aren't benefiting from programs designed for them.
“Its concerning that the United Nations Commission for Refugees puts the number of those documented at 80,000, now what happens if we have an extra 100,000 undocumented? If they commit a crime, how do we trace them and get to know who is terrorizing us?” she wondered.
She went on to add, “As the Mayor said, they're not benefitting from some of the programs designed for them, for instance this recent vaccination against Covid-19. Most weren't vaccinated because they didn't have the necessary documents. Remember if you're Ugandan you need to present a National ID and a refugee needs to present a valid refugee identity card.”
However, Fatboy encouraged the Lord Mayor to continue working with KCCA and the central government to have a reformed policy on a more sustainable approach to refugee settlement, while helping those displaced from their countries since they didn't invite the situations that befell them.
The Fatboy show is hosted by James Onen aka Fatboy, Olive, Sarah and Lesham every weekday from 6am to 10am on RX Radio.