The United States of America has spoken out on allegations that several top officials in the Ugandan Government are being witch hunted by denying them visas to America.
Through its Ambassador to Uganda, Deborah Malac (pictured), America has denied the allegations, blaming the officials of submitting their applications late.
“There are many Ugandans applying for visa and we have staffing constraints, we can only process a number of visa applications in a given day, so we encourage people to apply very early to allow sufficient time to process,” Malac said.
She made the remarks during a live Facebook address today.
She noted that some applicants misrepresent themselves through fraudulent submissions, a vice she says has nearly tripled in the recent past.
Asked why many Ugandans were denied visas about the just concluded Ugandan North America Association (UNAA), Malac said that United States takes the issue of travelling to US seriously and just like any other countries, the embassy is bound by America immigration laws.
She explained that when applications for the UNAA convention were submitted, it was summer in America which period is a very busy one yet the embassy is short of staff to time saying,
“Unfortunately that happens and it isn’t directed to any individual or group; these people wait too long to apply and it is impossible to fit people in, we work on first come, first serve basis depending on when people put in their application,” she said, adding: “Sometimes, people just can’t get into their interview in time. It isn’t an effort to single out any individual or group of people, it is a factor of how many staff we have, how soon these people apply.”
The Ambassador also blamed numerous visa denials on the high degree of fraud by Ugandans, arguing that many Ugandans present fake information for Visas to the United States which has strained the verification process and with the increase in the fraud vice, the US Embassy has rolled out an information campaign targeting Ugandans applying for US visas.
“United States embassy officials have been working with Ugandan Police to arrest and prosecute suspects and applicants who present fraudulent documents,” said Malac.
According to the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs, a visa applicant that attempts to obtain a visa by the willful misrepresentation of a material fact, or fraud, may result in the permanent refusal of a visa or denial of entry into the United States.
The development comes at a time when top Ugandan officials have been thrown into fear after reports of visa denials by the US embassy and attempts by Government to obtain a list of blacklisted officials have remained futile.
The cracks in the relations between the two nations were laid bare following decision by the US Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control to impose visa restrictions and economic sanctions on former Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura and his family over alleged corruption and human rights abuses.