Muslim MPs Petition Halts Vetting of Immigration Board

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Last month, the Muslim parliamentarians through their Imam, Latif Ssebagala protested the manner of presidential appointments in government agencies and departments. Ssebagala observed that none of the six appointees was a Muslim, demanding the vetting process be halted.

The appointments committee of parliament has halted the process of vetting six members of the Citizens and Immigration board following a petition by some Muslim legislators.

The committee that is chaired by Rebecca Kadaga, who is also the Speaker of parliament, was scheduled to conduct the vetting process within this week but is now awaiting a response from President Yoweri Museveni who appointed the six members.

Sources within the committee who spoke on condition of anonymity say that the committee is waiting for Museveni to respond before they take the next step in confirming the appointees. According to the source, the Speaker has reportedly written to the President bringing to his knowledge the petition.

In a letter dated June 15 2012 addressed to Parliament, President Yoweri Museveni forwarded six names for approval to the Citizenship and Immigration board. The names included former MPs Beatrice Byenkya Nyakaisiki for Hoima, John Eresu Elyanu for Kaberamaido and former Kitgum Woman MP Jane Akwero Odwong. Others are Patrick Ambako Kibrai, Elizabeth Nabakka Musaazi and Agatha Arembe Namirembe.

According to the constitution, the role of the board is to register and issue national identity cards to citizens, issuing Uganda passports and other travel documents, granting and cancelling citizenship by registration and naturalization. Other duties include granting and cancelling immigration permits as well as registering and issuing identity cards to aliens.

Last month, the Muslim parliamentarians through their Imam, Latif Ssebagala who is also the Kawempe North MP, protested the manner of presidential appointments in government agencies and departments.

Ssebagala observed that none of the six appointees was a Muslim, demanding the vetting process be halted. He argued that the appointment by the president was a continuation of the historical injustice and marginalization against the Muslim community.

According to the 2002 population and housing and census, the Catholics account for 42 percent of the total population followed by the Anglicans with 37 percent. The Muslims come third with 12 percent.

In other government positions like the chief administrative officers, there are 9 Muslims out of the 112 districts. Asuman Lukwago is the only Muslim Permanent Secretary in the 21 government ministries. Six out of the 75 ministers are Muslims.