The government of Uganda has kick started a process that will enable Ugandan nationals living in South Africa to get national identity cards and passports without travelling back home.
This development was announced by Barbara Nekesa, the High Commissioner to South Africa at an event to celebrate Uganda’s 57th independence anniversary in Pretoria on Wednesday.
“In collaboration with the National Identification and Registration Authority, we brought ID registration services nearer to you. However, we are dismayed by some of you who are bent on de-campaigning this noble cause,” said Hon. Barbara Nekesa, Uganda’s High Commissioner to South Africa.
Originally, Ugandans have had to travel back home to apply for and receive the documents, since obtaining the newly introduced East African passport requires one to have a National ID, only issued in Uganda.
As such, Nekesa intimated that Uganda was only one of the few countries that issue passports at selected missions, with citizens of other countries having to return home to secure the document.
“Those who have approached us can testify that we are always available to render service to whoever walks into the Mission irrespective of color, faith, tribe, political affiliation”.
Officials said that NIRA, the agency charged with issuance of the IDs, had agreed that Ugandans in South Africa would fill the required forms through the embassy, which information would be transferred to Kampala for printing of IDs. Concerning the requirement for LC1 and DISO signatures, association chairpersons and embassy officials would help confirm one’s citizenship.
Joshua Kivuna, the Minister Counselor, said staff had been trained on how to capture data for ID processing in Kampala. Thereafter, officials would collect the IDs and pass them on to the applicants from the Mission in South Africa.
However, Kivuna said that several Ugandans were not in conformity with this measure on grounds that providing their data could expose them to arrest by government. Although the first batch of IDs were scheduled to be issued three months back, this had not materialized.
Kivuna also said that although NIRA had promised that the first batch of IDs would be issued in three months, this had not happened yet.
“There has been a delay in the transfer of data. The IDs will come; we pray for some patience, and hope they will be delivered soon,” Kivuna urges.
Following the recall of the old passports for the new East African ones, Irene Jogole the immigration attaché says effective this month, she is start with assessing how to re-start processing and issuing passports to Ugandans.
In the same vein, Jogole says the Mission will be in position to issue visas to persons holding South African passports wishing to travel to Uganda.
The event was attended by Uganda’s representatives to the Pan African Parliament, Hon. Morris Ogenga Latigo and Hon. Felix Okot Ogong and Parliamentary Commissioner, Hon. Francis Mwijukye and over 100 Ugandans living and working in South Africa.