Mr. Kayonde Abdallah, President – MIGRANT WORKERS’ VOICE ORGANIZATION.

Article by Mr. Kayonde Abdallah, President – MIGRANT WORKERS’ VOICE ORGANIZATION. The diplomatic codes under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs doing the best to defend possible self-interests in the name of the country they represent, including economic sanctions, economic statecraft, foreign assistance, trade policy, oil and gold deals armed force, deterrence, arms control, peacekeeping, intelligence and covert actions.

Kayonde’s comments follow Minister Oryem’s comments during an exclusive interview with Solomon Serwanjja, the African Institute for Investigative Journalism-AIIJ Executive Director during AIIJ THE HARD QUESTIONS. These comments have sparked uproar nationwide & beyond.

Don’t expect Hon. Min. Henry Okello Oryem, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs to remember rights of national migrant workers especially in the gulf region or not to contradict himself in defending national interests of  which  migrant workers exportation is one. Call it labour export business. No wonder the continued suffering of Ugandan migrant workers in Saudi Arabia, the minister comes out bluntly to expose his country’s compromise in the suffering of its nationals there and fail to protect them even though they cannot avoid the business.

The minister wants to assert that the there is nothing wrong with Uganda labour employment regime, and he makes it worse when he disclaimed government not having a responsibility of protection of its nationals abroad by the embassies and missions abroad.

The minister exposed his bones when he seriously detached government from the deployment of Ugandans to Saudi Arabia through its duly licensed recruitment agencies with a full regulation in which it uses to yield the enormous returns, and the most popular one being 30 dollars cut per head sold in job orders – cleared by ministry of gender, labour and social development.

The minister seemed disconnected from the real life situations happening in Uganda especially when he lamented, wondering what really drives the migration of Ugandans to the gulf as if all the school drop outs, graduates and the rest of the country youths have been all able to be employed by the country with a better minimum wage to attract them stay home.

However, migration in Uganda today has remained as a protective strategy, essentially a safety net for very many vulnerable/poor households. Migration has become a last resort, or as a response to severe shock presents a dilemma for the theory of social protection.

ANALYSIS. We can think of migration as social protection as fulfilling promotive, preventive and protective elements of social protection. Some individuals may migrate in order to improve their life chances or incomes. This would be a promotive strategy. Others use migration as an insurance or risk diversification strategy (preventive). A family strategy may be to send one or more of its members abroad or from a rural to an urban setting, but the whole family will only move once the migrants have secured livelihoods.  For Uganda, it has been migration for short term contracts and come back to either start up a life or reunite to support their families.

By diversifying their activities, the family reduces vulnerability through both income diversification (agricultural and non-agricultural for instance) and informal insurance (retaining a livelihood at origin represents a fallback position for the migrants in case they are unsuccessful in the destination location).  The World Bank’s Social Risk Management Framework has failed to address one, which the ‘risk coping’ category of the dilemma hinges on the distinction between migration, as a forced reaction to shock or severe vulnerability and migration as a voluntary social protection choice. Often, migrants move from a very bad situation to an even worse one.

For these reasons, Migrant Workers’ voice does not consider unplanned forced migration as a social protection strategy, but rather focuses on the social protection needs for this situation.

The second case migration as a choice in the context of extreme shock or vulnerability/poverty – clearly falls within the previous definition of social protection.

The distinction between migration as a coping strategy Ugandans and migration as social protection can be made still clearer by considering the role of remittances in migration.

WAY FORWARD: The development of two models, using insurance and investment as the two main alternative motivations for migrants to send remittances back to their families.

Mr. Kayonde Abdallah, President – MIGRANT WORKERS’ VOICE ORGANIZATION.

The first model is premised on an ‘insurance contract’ between the household and the migrant. The decision for a member or several members of a household to migrate may be motivated by insurance and social welfare fair arrangements recognizing workers’ efforts to join associations and trades. Article by Mr. Kayonde Abdallah, President – MIGRANT WORKERS’ VOICE ORGANIZATION.

THE HARD QUESTIONS BY AIIJ: “The only solution to unemployment in Uganda is not Saudi Arabia. My advice…my position…if your expectation is that if you get into a problem, SWAT will swing into action, buy you a business class ticket, it won’t happen. Don’t go there, stay at home,” Minister Oryem explained.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here