Uganda court okays petitioners of Somali origin to get citizenship
A High Court in Kampala has ordered the Immigration office to give people of Somali origin citizenship as long as they fulfil the requirements of the law.
The judgment issued through email by Justice Musa Ssekaana arises from a case filed in 2019 by seven members of the Somali community in Uganda and a civil society organization who had been denied citizenship by Ugandan authorities.
The members are Abdu Abucar Hussein, Abdullah Ahmed Shiek, Yahaya Yusuf, Hirsi Mohamed, Abdinassir Hussein Shire, Mohamed Abduwel Abdulla, Ahmed Noor Osman and Multiracial Community Uganda (Mcu) Ltd. The aggrieved people were born in Uganda and to Ugandan parents who they say lived in Uganda all their lives.
The petitioners sued the government after the immigration office declined to give them citizenship saying that they can only acquire citizenship once they are neutralized into the community. The petitioners declined to do so arguing that they were not refugees to be neutralized but rather citizens by birth since they were born in Uganda.
The Immigration office sought the opinion of the Attorney General who opined that for as long as the people were able to prove that they were born in Uganda, they should be given citizenship by birth.
However, the Directorate of Immigration and Citizenship and the National Identification and Registration Authority denied recognition of their citizenship by birth and access to key documents like a passport and National Identity Cards – IDs.
Both Uganda and Somalia have a strong interest in repairing relations.
Somalia and Uganda are historically, culturally and economically interlinked. Many citizens of both countries share a common ethnic heritage and the neighbours’ social and trade links have proven deep and enduring.