U.K. Probes Alleged Uganda ‘Spy’

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(FDC President, Besigye, weighed in on the "spying" issue during a recent visit to London).

The U.K. Home Office informs The Black Star News that there is an on-going investigation in response to questions from this newspaper about allegations that an employee who is Ugandan, has been unfairly denying asylum applications from Ugandans whom he suspects favors the opposition party in the African country.

Separately, in an interview with this newspaper, the Ugandan who works for the Home Office, John Guma-Komwiswa, has denied that he is a spy for the Ugandan government keeping a tab on government opponents by monitoring people who apply for asylum when their files come across his desk.

Allegations have swirled around Guma from Ugandans who have had their asylum applications denied—Guma is also Secretary General of the U.K. and Ireland branches of Uganda’s ruling party, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) under President Lt. Gen. Yoweri K. Museveni. These Ugandans who had applications rejected claim Guma believes they are supporters of the opposition Forum For Democratic Change (FDC).

A Spokesperson for the Home Office says the department doesn’t talk about “individual cases,� when contacted about Guma. “The Directorate expects the highest levels of integrity from its staff,� adds the spokesperson. “Any suspicions or allegations of staff acting corruptly or improperly are fully investigated, and an investigation is underway into allegations of corruption against a member of staff. The Directorate has a dedicated unit of trained officers who work in close co-operation with the police to investigate internal fraud and corruption.�

The Home Office wouldn’t comment when asked whether it was appropriate for a Ugandan who works with the ruling party’s U.K. branch to have anything to do with asylum applications from Ugandans. “I’m not a spy and those are malicious allegations meant to tarnish my repute,� says Guma. “Possibly, those are some of the disgruntled fellows. It’s true I work at the Home Office but I don’t handle such cases.�

Guma says if he were a Ugandan security agent, British police would have determined this during background check before he was hired. “I have been working at the Home Office for over eight years even before Besigye’s FDC was formed,� he adds, referring to Dr. Kizza Besigye, President of the FDC. “So, they are unfair to make such serious allegations against me.�

In bitterly contested election early this year, the FDC claimed it was robbed of victory through massive rigging and intimidation of voters by Ugandan security forces. Weighing in on the alleged spy scandal, during a recent visit to the U.K., Dr. Besigye said: “We are trying to compile a list of people who are sponsored by Museveni’s government to come and claim asylum yet they are working as his spies.�

He added: “It’s true many of my supporters are actually genuine and have been persecuted by Kampala regime—They were denied refugee status here. Yet Museveni’s spies are granted refugees’ status and some are working as Case Workers in the Home Office.� Besigye also noted: “The UK tax payers’ money pays Museveni’s spies, they are sponsored on official missions and come here disguising as asylum seekers.�

“There is no way I can influence a case, here in the UK the system is straight,� Guma adds in the interview with this newspaper. “It’s not like that you can just call a certain office and say anything you want to—If a Minister can lose  a job on the basis of influencing. What about me?�

“Honestly-speaking, those are purely false allegation made by jealous individuals,� Guma, reiterates. When asked about a letter bearing his signature, in which a Ugandan’s application was denied, Guma declines to comment.

Miwambo writes for The Black Star from London.

Black Star News Publisher’s Note: The Publisher also wants to be on record as stating that the reporter who wrote the above article, Miwambo, informs us he's received some threats. As readers can tell the Home Office informed The Black Star News that there is in fact an investigation of the matter discussed in the article. The Publisher will alert the proper authorities concerning further threats to the reporter. The Black Star News’s publisher also wants to inform its readers that a photograph of Mr. Guma was used without crediting, or permission from Eyecon magazine, its original source, in earlier versions of this article and we apologize.

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 Milton@blackstarnews.com  Our motto is: “Speaking Truth To Empower.�

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