By Spy Uganda
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has refuted allegations that it neglected and or refused to assist Ugandans stranded in Saudi Arabia to return home, through the Ugandan embassy in Saudi.
The saga arose after several women recorded a video of themselves pleading to Ugandans elsewhere in the world to come to their rescue after they were turned away by the Ugandan embassy in Saudi Arabia, which they shared on social media.
In the said video, a group of Ugandan women who are speaking Luganda (a local dialect) are seen hoarded together and crying out to fellow Ugandans to help and rescue them, after being turned away by officials at the Ugandan embassy in Saudi Arabia.
However, in a stamen released Thursday July 2nd, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs refuted allegations fronted by the women in the video, asserting that they were not turned away or abandoned by the Ugandan embassy in Saudi Arabia as they allege, but that the embassy’s shelter is currently overwhelmed.
A statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs clarifying the controversy surrounding the impasse reads in part thus;
“CLARIFICATION ON VIDEOS BEING CIRCULATED ON SOCIAL MEDIA OF UGANDANS IN SAUDI ARABIA
July 01st, 2020
Kampala: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ attention has been drawn to some videos being circulated on social media concerning a group of Ugandans who claim that the Ugandan Embassy in Saudi Arabia did not attend to them.
The Ministry has carried out its investigations and wishes to clarify as follows;
- Whereas the Embassy is committed to helping Ugandans in the Diaspora, it should be noted that some of the women recorded in the videos visited the Embassy on Friday 26th June 2020 when the Mission was closed. Friday is a weekend and a nonworking day in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
2. The Embassy has a shelter which it uses to accommodate stranded Ugandans but its capacity is stretched as a result of a backlog of cases arising from the suspension of international flights due to the COVID-I9 Pandemic. The same is true of the facilities being provided by the Saudi Arabian Government. It is therefore increasingly difficult to handle new cases.
3. All the cases presented at the Embassy including the women in the video have been dealt with together with other stakeholders. Therefore, there are no Ugandans waiting or stranded outside the Embassy in Saudi Arabia
4. In one of the videos, the flags at the Embassy were shown flying at half- mast. This was not in error because all Ugandan offices including Missions abroad had been directed to do so in honor of the late President of Burundi who passed away recently.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs would like to assure the general public that it is committed to discharging its responsibilities, including protecting the rights and safeguarding the well-being of Ugandans in the Diaspora.”