By Mudassir Raja
The expatriate community of Uganda expressed their happiness over the much-awaited establishment of their embassy in Doha.
Uganda has a strong community in Qatar with numbers falling somewhere in between 5,000 to 6, 000. The community has been lobbying for having their embassy in Qatar that has become a second home to the Ugandans.
The embassy — set up at the beginning of this year — will boost bilateral ties with Qatar and help promote the welfare of the Ugandans living here.
Some motivated people from the community came forward and formed a community organisation named The Ugandan Community in Qatar (UGACOQ) to highlight this issue. Formed in 2015, the community organisation — a non-profit and formal association — has been taking care of the Ugandans living in Qatar in the absence of the embassy.
“The members of our organisation and the expatriate community at large are very happy to have the embassy here. There have been different issues that we have been facing in the absence of the facility. All of our issues will now be resolved immediately,” said Aiden Kasakya Muganzi, Vice Chairperson of UGACOQ, while talking to Community recently.
The community representative, who works in the construction sector, further said: “The newly-established embassy currently does not offer visa services only. The facility, however, is offering counsellor services, documents attestation process and welfare activities for the community. Earlier, the Ugandans living in Qatar had to contact their embassy in Saudi Arabia for different services including the document attestation.”
The seemingly happy Aiden said: “The embassy will now give us a due recognition in Qatar. Though, we have been carrying out different welfare activities for our community with the help of different departments of the government of Qatar, the process will become easier and more regular.
“At the platform of UGACOQ, we have been organising different sports and cultural events for the community. We needed to get permission from different departments and now with our embassy being involved; the activities will become more recognised and official in nature. As far as the welfare activities for the community go, now it will be a lot easier for the expatriate workers to get police clearance certificate from Uganda – as required by the government of Qatar. The embassy’s involvement will also help in issues like sending back a dead body in case of an unfortunate death.”
Aiden believes that the presence of embassy will help improve the bilateral ties. “We are waiting for an ambassador, as an acting head of mission is currently looking over the affairs.
Having official presence will help Uganda improve ties with Qatar both economically and culturally. We as a community organisation have been organising different programmes highlighting potential of tourism and investment in Uganda. Now, the efforts will become more official nature and result-oriented. It will boost the confidence of the community as well as that of the potential investors.”
Shedding light on the community organisation, Aliguma Saul Rayan, Chairman of UGACOQ, said: “People from Uganda have long been working in Qatar. Earlier there were small groups and Ugandans were coming together at a slow pace. These small groups were having get-togethers to celebrate different events.
“It was in 2015 that we thought to have a single platform for our community. I and some other people realised the community needed to have a platform. Since our start, we have been building a bridge between the Ugandan community and other communities in Qatar. We look for job opportunities for skilful people from our community and educate our members about laws and life in Qatar.
He added: “Qatar is no more just a place where the Ugandans work but consider another home away from home. With the opening of our embassy, one of our visions has come true.
“The people of Uganda are the first ambassadors in Qatar. They will get real support from the embassy as they try to invite friends from Qatar to their country. Now the registration process for the Ugandans in Qatar will officially kick off very soon.”
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