The Deputy Speaker, Thomas Teyebwa, has tasked the Minister of Internal Affairs to explain the continued delays in processing of the new electronic passports.
“Minister, you should make a statement tomorrow [Wednesday]. You should also explain the rationale behind payment for renewal of passports,” Tayebwa said.
He gave the directive following a matter of national importance raised by Nakawa Division East MP, Hon. Ronald Balimwezo, during plenary sitting on Tuesday, 20 September 2022.
Balimwezo said that since introduction of the e-passports, applicants are subjected to waiting periods of over three months before their travel documents are issued. Hon. Ronald Balimwezo
“An ordinary passport costs Shs250,000 and its production must take approximately two weeks while an express passport costs Shs400,000 with a production period of three to five days but up to date, people are suffering,” Balimwezo said.
He wants the Ministry of Internal Affairs to explain why there is low production of passports and why applicants of express passports have to wait for over three months to receive the travel document.
Hon. Medard Sseggona (NUP, Busiro County East) also demanded that the minister explains why Ugandans whose old passports were still valid are required to pay for the new e-passports.
“The passport is a guarantee of a right to movement which is enshrined in the constitution. So that freedom is curtailed when you tell a Ugandan who had a running passport that we have decided to change the design of our passport and you have to pay again,” he said.
Government launched the Ugandan East African e-passport in 2018, phasing out the Ugandan machine-readable passports. Subsequently, Ugandans were given up to April 2022 as the deadline to acquire the new e-passports.