The Congolese who have settled in Uganda for all those years and those born in Uganda but without formal documents were previously able to access all social and commercial services like banking, travel documents, health, education and sim card registrations among others.
Gulu City Residents of Congolese Origin are struggling to access services due to the lack of Uganda`s National Identity Cards.
There are more than one hundred Congolese who have for
the last twenty-years settled in the different parts of Gulu City with the
majority in Bardege-Layibi division without documents from their ancestral country.
Some of them are females were brought into the country by soldiers of the
Uganda People's Defense Forces -UPDF who had been fighting in the DR Congo
while some fled hardships in their country and ended up in Uganda.
The foreigners who have settled in Uganda for all those years
but without formal documents were however able to access all social and
commercial services like banking, travel documents, health, education and sim
card registrations among others.
Majority of them had opened up bank accounts, accessed all
health care services, purchased phones and sim cards until in 2015 when the
government introduced the National Identification Number -NIN for all its
The NIN and National ID was created by the Parliament under Registration
of Person Act 2015.
Each citizen was (is) required to register their place of birth or residence and all their particulars but this was all for
Government consequently directed that all the personal
details be attached to one`s bank account, sim card, travel documents, voting,
medical documents and the National Social Security Fund -NSSF.
Pappy Panda, a Congolese who has been in Uganda for 20-years and the Chairperson for Congolese in Gulu City told
URN in an interview that he was denied registration for the National Identity
Card in 2015 on grounds that he is a foreigner.
Panda who had earlier opened up a bank account in one of the
commercial banks in Gulu and purchased sim cards as well has now been blocked
from all his accounts after failing to verify due to lack of a National
Identity Card as required by the service providers.
//Cue in: ‘’my money
Cue out: …school from
Before the existence of the National Identity Card, Panda had used
a recommendation letter from his area local chairperson to get the services.
Duff Faridah is a twenty year-old of Congolese origin born from Uganda. She
told URN that her attempt to acquire a national identity card has been futile
after the authorities termed her a ‘’foreigner’’ and deemed not eligible.
//Cue in: ‘’they don`t
Cue out: …studying
Much as Faridah claims that she is born of a Ugandan father who
separated with her mother during pregnancy, she said that she has been denied
the vaccination against the coronavirus disease due to the lack of a National
Bebe Mboli, another Congolese who has been in the country for
over 15-years disclosed that she was recently turned away from one of the
military health facilities in Gulu after she failed to produce a national
Mboli has now resorted to buying medicine and treating herself
and her children from a private clinic which does not require a national
Pauline Ayoto, a Local Council official in Kasubi Ward were
many of the Congolese stay told URN that the have indeed also missed out on all forms of government support especially during this
COVID-19 lockdown due to the lack of national identity cards.
However, Gilbert Kadilo, the National Identification
Registration Authority (NIRA) Spokesperson explained that the first
registration for the National Identity Cards was only for Ugandans.
Kadilo added that the alien identity card registration which is
meant for non-Ugandans will be done later but only for foreigners who entered
Uganda through the office of the directorate of registration and possess legal
documents of their stay in Uganda.
Emmy Daniel Ojara is a young journalist and has been practicing since 2013, during which he covered land rights violation in the contested Apaa and Lakang in Amuru as his first take ups while at Gulu Fm, Favor Fm and later Paidha Fm and Speak Fm where he is still attached.
Human rights abuses and denied access to land by security and government agencies has been the major aftermath of the contest over the lands. The underprivileged such as women, children and the elderly faced challenges in accessing soc