Uganda's Powerful Spy Network

-A +A


[Opinion/Column] I had been struggling to understand why the Uganda Government would frustrate asylum applications in the UK until a friend sent me an email of an article written by a spokesperson for Uganda’s ruling National Resistance Movement/Organization (NRM/O).

The spokesperson outlined the reasons why his government has no interest in frustrating Ugandans applying for asylum in the UK. His article unwittingly accomplished the opposite. It disclosed exactly why the government of Uganda would deploy resources to frustrate asylum applications in the UK.

The Uganda government has a strategic and political motive to frustrate asylum applications. The Regime in Kampala has accumulated an appalling human rights record over the last years and has gone on a systematic cover up operation. One way of countering accusations of human rights violations is to have no record of such acts. If there are no asylum applications approved in the UK, Her Majesty’s government cannot turn around and accuse the Uganda government of Human rights violations.

Britain is the most common destination for Ugandans seeking asylum abroad. If Britain cannot have evidence of any; then no one can accuse Uganda of human rights abuse. All other democratic countries, the US, countries of the EU, and Commonwealth would most probably follow the British.

Thus, if confronted by accusations of abuse, the Uganda government would point to the fact that the U.K. had rejected asylum seekers, which would presumably contradict accusations of human rights abuses. Therefore, NRM/O government has a political and strategic motive to frustrate asylum applications. That is why massive intelligence resources were deployed to ensure that asylum applications from Uganda are rejected.

Of course, there are always bogus asylum applications, but it is true that there are real genuine persons who have been persecuted by the Kampala regime. The worry for the British people is that the system of deciding genuine and bogus asylum applications from Uganda is undermined by the presence of ‘asylum spies’ working in the British Home Office. The U.K. invests $700 million a year in Uganda.

NRM/O members come to Britain on a mission and with massive state financial support
and soon buy houses. Home ownership places them on a far higher status than any immigrant. They therefore integrate quickly within the system—many start operating business straight away, which makes it easier for them to get “Stay� visas, rarely refused to someone with a business and paying off a mortgage.

On the other hand, we the “riffraff� as one NRM/O spokesperson referred to us non-supporters, really have a tough time. We arrive as genuine or bogus asylum seekers or economic immigrants. You can easily find yourself in rural England waiting, without employment, for anything from six months to six years to determine your

We “riffraff� work from scratch. We support our families back home in Uganda and end up being the country’s social security because our government spends vast resources on a spying network. In other words, Ugandans or “riffraff� work to pay for the welfare of our families in Uganda and for the vast spying network home and abroad.

There’re two kinds of Ugandans--the privileged and the unprivileged; the ruled and the rulers; and, riffraff and Lords. It is this arrogance and disregard of citizens that culminated in the beating of Rashid Kasaato by President Museveni’s bodyguards when Museveni last visited London.

Ugandans wake up. There is a group of people determined to turn us into slaves. They’re doing their work intelligently—using an international propaganda machine. Unless we counter this challenge, slavery is awaiting.

Publisher’s Note: Following a series of articles in The Black Star News, the U.K. government has launched a probe into allegations that Home Office employee, John Guma-Komwiswa, who was at the same time an NRM official, also doubled as a spy who routinely rejected asylum applicants if he deemed they were opposition party supporters. Uganda’s foreign ministry denied Guma-Komwiswa was a Ugandan operative and Guma-Komwiswa himself denies the allegations. He’s suspended while the probe continues.

To subscribe to or advertise in New York’s leading Pan African weekly investigative newspaper, please call (212) 481-7745 or send a note to

“Speaking Truth To Empower.�

Also Check Out...

Lincoln Center and Interfaith
Sounding the Alarm about
Interfaith Leaders Confront World