Ugandan Members of Parliament (MPs) have demanded that the government expels all Sudanese nationals residing in the country in response to the expulsion of Ugandan traders in South Sudan.
The call follows a decree that was issued by the South Sudan Internal Affairs Minister that no foreigners should be allowed to engage in motorcycle commonly known as boda bodas and taxi business.
The MPs argue that the decree did not give Ugandans working in South Sudan enough time to make an orderly exit from the country.
Gilbert Oulanya, representing Amuru, rose on a matter of national importance and said that over 600 boda boda riders from Uganda were given only 48 hours to leave the Southern Sudan states of Jongolei and Central Equatorial.
He said that not only were the boda boda riders forced to leave hastily, they were further harassed when they reached Kamding town. He said all the documents that showed ownership of their motorcycles were confiscated from them by the Kamding police.
Ugandan Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa attempted to calm the MPs by explaining that the matter was raised before President Yoweri Museveni.
Kutesa told the MPs that President Museveni then called his counterpart South Sudan President Salva Kiir who ordered that the harassment stop.
But MP Regan Okumu, representing Aswa County in Gulu, congratulated the South Sudan government for refusing to let foreigners take over all the jobs in their country.
Leader of the Opposition and Budadiri County West MP Nathan Nandala Mafabi wondered why the government had passed a budget to build a market in South Sudan.
He said that since it was obvious that the South Sudan government only wanted professionals from abroad, it was illogical the Ugandan government could waste money to build a market there.
He noted that Uganda should also cut off supply of food and other basic needs it provides to South Sudan.
MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo reiterated the point that many returning boda boda riders claimed that they had lost a lot of property on the way back. He said some of them cited losing property to South Sudanese officials at Obangi before they could be allowed to cross over into Uganda.
He urged the Foreign Affairs ministry to follow up and compensation claims.
Kutesa than revealed to the House that he is slated to travel to South Sudan on 11th October for a two day trip and this matter is on the agenda.
He further revealed that he was already in talks with the Office of the Prime Minister to ensure an a smooth registration of the boda boda riders who have returned from South Sudan.
Speakerof Parliament Rebecca Kadaga noted that there are Ugandans who have been financially ruined in South Sudan saying that October is to far since some of these traders have a lot of money sitting in South Sudan.