By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: Speaker of Ugandan parliament Rt.Hon.Rebecca Alitwala Kadaga has asked a Chinese diplomat who visited Uganda last Friday to release the more than 70 Ugandans on death row in China.
A number of Ugandans are currently on death row in China over drug trafficking, which is a very serious crime in China punishable by death. Other unspecified numbers are said to be charged with crimes such as prostitution, illegal immigration or overstay.
In July 2014, China executed two Ugandans, Omar Ddamulira and Ham Andrew Ngobi, convicted of trafficking narcotics. The duo were part of the 23 listed two years ago to be sentenced to death, while another 22 are serving life imprisonment in China over similar offences.
However, during a meeting with the Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr Wang Yang at Parliament on Friday, Kadaga said China had shown positive response to the request by the Government to have the prisoners transferred back home.
“We discussed the possibility of transfer of Ugandans convicted in China and the Chairman said they would think about it. It is work in progress,” Ms Kadaga said.
She also applauded China for its renewed commitment in reducing the trade imbalance between the two countries, which she said puts Uganda at 90 per cent while China is at three percent. “There will be a trade expo in China in November this year and the Chairman of CPPCC has assured us that companies from Uganda will be given special opportunity and priority,” Ms Kadaga said.
Mr Wang acknowledged Parliament’s efforts in maintaining close relations with the CPPCC, saying China has enjoyed good cooperation with Uganda in all areas.
Mr.Yang who paid a courtesy call on Kadaga at the Parliament Chambers on Friday morning had arrived on Wednesday evening into the country on a three-day official visit at the invitation of Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda. He was also slated to launch the Entebbe Expressway alongside President Yoweri Museveni later same day and also hold bilateral talks with President Museveni and the Vice-President, Edward Sekandi before returning to China.