The Minister of Gender Labour and Social Development, Betty Among, is in a bitter fight with Rtd. Maj. Gen. Kahinda Otafire, the senior Minister of Internal Affairs over a deal involving tycoon Sudhir Ruparelia’s UMC Victoria hospital.
Early this month, Amongi responded to Otafiire’s letter dated 27th May, 2022, instructing all labour export companies to only use UMC Victoria Hospital Bukoto to test the internal organs of all people who are seeking for greener pastures abroad especially in Arab countries.
In his letter, Otafiire insisted that the said hospital was accredited by the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and the United Nations (UN).
The minister further explained that the purpose of his letter was to address the numerous outcries among the young people who seek for employment abroad but claim that their internal organs are removed during the course of their work.
Immediately after receiving the minister’s letter, Dr. Anuraga Shah, the UMC Victoria hospital boss, on 6th June, 2022, wrote to all registered labour export companies informing them of the minister’s directive.
The labour export companies under their association of Uganda Association of the External Recruitment Agencies (UAERA), through their chairperson Baker Akantambira, petitioned their line minister Amongi complaining about the new development.
Akantambira further responded to Dr. Shah rubbishing his letter and insisting that his hospital’s actions were illegal.
“I write to disassociate ourselves from you, your facility and from any irregular initiatives aimed at imposing charges on migrant workers,” he noted.
In response to Akantambira’s petition, a furious minister Amongi told Otafiire to get back in his line of duty and stop meandering in her lane.
She noted that her ministry is the one responsible for negotiations and regulating migrant workers in the country.
Amongi told Otafiire that her ministry had already signed several agreements with the Gulf Cooperation Council which is responsible with supervising all workers seeking employment abroad especially in Arab countries.
She further revealed that during the signing of the agreement with Gulf Cooperation Council, a list of selected hospitals were assigned to test internal organs of workers.
Amongi told Otafiire that he cannot just come up and all of a sudden recommend only UMC Victoria hospital.
She advised him that the only way UMC Victoria hospital will be allowed on the list is through negotiations with the government, particularly her ministry and the Gulf Cooperation Council, otherwise his directives are illegal.
The Foreign Affairs Minister Rtd. Gen. Jeje Odongo recently informed theGrapevine that cabinet had passed a resolution that all workers should be tested to find out whether all their internal organs are intact before leaving for work abroad.
He further added that on their way back, after successfully executing their employment contracts, the workers should be checked again.
By Sengooba Alirabaki