NGOs caution Urban Refugees against engaging in partisan political campaigns
BY AMBROSE GAHENE
Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) charged with helping urban Refugees have cautioned the Refugees against involving themselves in the current partisan political campaigns, if they are to stay safe from harassment by the different political party groups. The call comes at a time when Urban Refugees are reportedly beaten up and harassed by locals during the current election campaign trails across Kampala Capital City, for purportedly supporting different political party groups.
Sara Birungi Namuddu, the executive director, Smart Transitions, while addressing Journalists in Nsambya, a Kampala Suburb on Saturday, said: “It’s no secret that many urban Refugees in Kampala live in election hotspots for example; Nsambya, Kisenyi, Kansanga, Bukasa, Katwe, Mengo and Nakulabye among others”.
She said; during the prevailing election campaigns, there are a lot of riots and gun violence that has happened in a series of campaign events all over major cities in Uganda. “Many have been affected with loss of lives and livelihoods and some urban Refugees have been entangled one way or the other”, she added.
Bashir Kasiita, Refugees Innovation and Sustainable Enterprise Urban Project (RISE UP), in his address to a cross section of the Refugees present, said each Refugee should be responsible for safeguarding his or her life. “Your safety begins with you”, he said. He called upon Refugees to stay away from political campaign activities.
Margret Sentamu, the executive director, Uganda Media Women’s Association (UMWA) advised Refugees to desist from donning political color symbols and T- Shirts to avoid being targeted by errant political activists. She said civic education on elections in Uganda has been very limited, that’s why Refugees are targeted. She reminded Refugees that International Laws do not permit them to engage in political activities from their host countries.
The training workshop was organized to sensitize urban Refugees on how to navigate through the election period peacefully.