Members of Parliament have demanded that government urgently attends to the welfare of her officials serving in several missions abroad.
The MPs that were speaking following the presentation of the report of the foreign affairs committee by the chairperson Rose Mutonyi (Bubulo West) on the ministry policy statement for the financial year 2018/2019 argued that their visits to the missions abroad reflected the hard conditions the officers operate in.
“We visited Uganda’s embassies in Ethiopia and Mombasa but the ambassadors there could not meet us because they faced many challenges. Government should come up with a charter to guide their work,” Matheniko MP John Baptist Lokii said.
Amuru Woman MP Lucy Akello urged government to set up missions in countries where most Ugandans seek employment to ease monitoring and recruit labour officers in those countries.
Mutonyi in her presentation noted that government was ill bent on recruiting career diplomats that would have been a priority. The committee indicated that instead, government was appointing more of non-career diplomats as ambassadors in the various missions.
“Out of 35 ambassadors or heads of missions, only six are career diplomats representing 17.1 per cent,” read the report.
The MPs noted that at one time in Washington, one of the officers was declared persona non grata because he could not measure up to the standards of a foreign service officer, recommending that even after vetting appointees (ambassadors) should be taken for training in diplomacy.
Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga noted that Parliament was not impressed with planning as regards to the state of missions abroad, and called on the Finance ministry to cater for them since they remitted over Shs 76 billion between 2013/14 and 2016/17.
“I have never understood the rationale of renting office space for 50 years. The money we have spent on renting would have bought us many buildings,” Kadaga said.
In response, state minister for Planning David Bahati said government had availed funds to facilitate the rehabilitation and establishment of the missions abroad.
State minister international affairs Henry Okello Oryem however said Uganda has competent officials serving at foreign missions, though without labour agreements with the United Arab Emirates, where many Ugandans were being employed.