- Geoffrey T. Muhoozi is a Ugandan trained Public Relations Practitioner and Journalist. He Studied at Makerere University Kampala and read Mass Communication with a bias in Public Relations. In between the course, he studied the Art of Public Speaking. He joined Uganda’s Leading Daily, The New Vision during his second year and practiced journalism till he left for The United Kingdom.In the UK, he persued an NCC International Diploma in Computing at London College of Business Studies and Computing. He went on to do a Masters Degree in Business Administration [MBA]specialsing in Marketing. In spite of being in The United Kingdom, he still contributes for The New Vision and The Sunday Vision newspapers when time allows.
Wednesday, July 07, 2004
By Geoffrey Muhoozi in London
HARDLY does a week go by without Radio Katwe UK frequency broadcasts the names of Ugandans deported in that week. And one always wonders why it is mostly Ugandans who are so often deported. Before I get an answer to why it is always so, I remember some bits of advice given to me on arrival to The UK.
Just like people in England say that all Nigerians are crooks, thieves and conmen and should never be trusted, ‘NEVER TRUST ANY UGANDAN’, was the warning sounded to me on my day of arrival and as a journalist I vowed to find out why Ugandans can never be trusted. Few weeks later, before I even set out on my fact finding mission, an Indian with whom I was working assures me how he can never trust any Ugandan and his reason for not trusting us is because of hypocrisy and betrayal.
The findings about why Ugandans behaved the way they did where shocking because of the trivial issues that let Ugandans betray each other thus even other nationalities loosing trust in them. The most common cause of mistrust and betrayal is men eloping with other men’s wives or girl friends. One injects all his savings for several months into arranging travel for his wife to the UK and all he gets as a reward for getting the woman here is an elopement with some illegal immigrant.
The disappointed man will then do anything to see that one of them or even both of them is deported and so the cat and mouse game begin as the mistrust grows into betrayal. Recently some illegal immigrant who had done all he could to bring his wife here together with the man who had stolen his wife were deported because this villain of a wife who had eloped with another man, got pregnant and had been dumped by the adulterous man she had eloped with, got fed up of seeing both men every other day because all the three worked in one place.
Owing to the fact she had lost out on both men though the husband was willing to take her back, she decided to call David Blankett’s men [immigration officials and police] informing them of the fact that many Illegal immigrants, most of them Ugandans were working at some Cinema in West London. Since she had sought asylum and could not be deported, she also worked on that fateful morning to see to it that both men were arrested and bundled into the police Van. What really hurt so many people is the fact that about fifteen innocent illegal immigrants who had not been involved in the betrayal of one married man were also bundled and deported.
The other reason why many Ugandans are deported stems from some Ugandans fleecing people who work in there identities of there hard earned cash and then reporting them that they are illegal immigrants. This usually happens in such a way that these mischievous Ugandans purport to be good hearted and nationalists in all they do, to the extent of getting the illegal immigrant a job though the wages are paid into the name owner’s account who later uses all the money and the illegal immigrant who has been working about 12 hours a day ends up not getting a penny for his hard work.
What happens is that this illegal immigrant realises that he has been fleeced and starts demanding his wages from not his employer but the real name owner. This African gets fed up of the constant bugging by the immigrant and ends up tipping immigration officials about where the immigrant lives and works thus his work place or address where he lives being stormed. Surviving these guys is really hard because now that they have both your home and work address they will just lay an ambush and get you unless some one tips you off and you find another home, place of work and definitely a new identity.
Then there is conflict with a shift supervisor springing from struggle for power yet the supervisor is an illegal immigrant. The betrayer wants the job too and yet the illegal immigrant supervisor also feels threatened and has to act so swiftly. In turn he has his opponent sacked and what the opponent decides to do well knowing that this Ugandan supervisor is an illegal immigrant is to tip the immigration officials who end up raiding the premises searching everyone’s details and bundling all illegal immigrants into waiting vans to the airport to catch the next flight back to their home countries.
Much as all this is done in the name of hypocrisy and villainy, what really hurts is the way these illegal immigrants are treated by immigration officials. It is really humiliating because the way you are dressed is how you go, and if lucky you may make one last phone call to a relative or friend though at times it does not happen. Actually if the deported person has not been so keen on sending his savings back home to have some project started by a close relative, he or she may never get back onto his/her feet and may have to rent a muzigo and beg for handouts because unless the account one has been using is for a person so close to him or her, they may never get that money. That is how Ugandans can be villains and if the immigration officers employed them, they would have them betray all their close friends and have them nicked and deported.
NOTE: ALL STORIES HAVE BEEN PUBLISHED BY UGANDA’S LEADING DAILY, THE NEW VISION OR THE SUNDAY VISION.