15 May 2018

East Africa: FDC Backs Plan to Relocate UN Centre to Kenya

Photo: Abubaker Lubowa/Daily Monitor
FDC party spokesman Ssemujju Nganda addresses a press conference at the party head offices in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, recently.

Kampala — Opposition Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) has said the plan to relocate UN centre from Entebbe to Kenya was justifiable, saying it underlined the prevailing economic problems in the country.

Addressing the weekly press conference at their head offices in Najjanankumbi, Kampala, yesterday, FDC spokesman Ibrahim Ssemujju Nganda said the Ugandan economy is in dire straits, the reason the UN centre needs to be relocated just like many other companies that have been exiting the country.

"We all want the UN centre to remain in the country but if we have to deal with our economy, then the centre needs to relocate so that the government can wake up. We have failed many countries and entities. We need to deal with the cause of the issue not look at the symptom," Mr Ssemujju said.

Last week, President Museveni, in a protest letter to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, questioned the criteria used to arrive at the decision to shift the UN centre to Kenya. He pointed out Uganda's sacrifice and dedication to some of the UN would-be responsibilities of hosting refugees, involvement in peace keeping missions in South Sudan, Somalia, Central African Republic and DR Congo, among other concerns.

Mr Guterres, in response, indicated that the base "will remain".

However, according to FDC, President Museveni has concentrated on doing UN work that has since become disastrous to the economy.

"It is because of our involvement in the wars in some of these countries that we have many refugees right now. Museveni has continued to sleep on his job and that is why he looks for sleeping MPs to represent in parliament," Mr Ssemujju said.

Justification

"Our problem is generic from our poor economy. All foreign traders find it unreliable and that is why they keep going away. Look at the likes of Nakumatt, Uchumi and the British Airways that have since closed business in Uganda due to the uncompetitive economy," he added.

Last year, Nakumatt and Uchumi shopping centres closed all their branches in the country, rendering several Ugandans jobless.

The Entebbe centre has, according to information on its website, been processing 364,200 payroll, telephone bill, vendor invoice, travel and other requests as well education grants each year in support of 13 UN missions in Africa.

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