The Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Thomas Tayebwa, has directed the Minister of Foreign Affairs to present a statement on measures being taken by government to negotiate friendly visa terms for ordinary passport holders.
“I am giving the minister two weeks to give us a comprehensive statement. While we think of ourselves as diplomats and ministers, what about that trader who goes to China? It is a very big point of concern,” said Tayebwa.
While chairing plenary on Thursday, 28 April 2022, Tayebwa said that he read in the news that the governments of Uganda and Mozambique are negotiating for diplomatic and official passport holders from both countries to travel visa-free.
“It is very difficult for ordinary Ugandans to get visas to African countries and yet the President advocates for African integration, Pan Africanism and has contributed whatever he can to the continent,” said Tayebwa.
He noted that Ugandans who frequently travel to China and Turkey, as well as other countries for business are mostly constrained by the lengthy visa process and subsequent denial of visas.
“A minister whom I know was traveling for surgery in South Africa but to get a visa for his caretaker was a tug of war,” Tayebwa added.
He also gave an account of a government official who applied for a visa to the United States of America in 2021 for an official trip and was given an appointment for an interview in November 2022.
“It now takes a year for one to get a visa and yet coming to Uganda is very easy for other people,” said Tayebwa.
He said that Uganda has made good strides and therefore, the country’s passport deserves respect from other countries.