The minister for internal affairs, Maj Gen (rtd) Kahinda Otafiire, has said he is determined to take drastic measures to ensure that Ugandans going for external labour are protected from illegal extraction of their internal organs.
Otafiire who was responding to our reporter’s enquiry why of all hospitals in the country he chose Victoria Hospital to conduct comprehensive internal organ testing for all those going for external labour, said he has been getting reports of Ugandans who are taken under the guise of employment but end up being subjected to criminal organ removal and their dead bodies fed to crocodiles.
Many labour exporters, according to Otafiire have been using clinics to get fake results which they use to take people to work abroad. Once the laborers reach countries like Saudi Arabia, Otafiire says some are taken to other places for instance Thailand where their organs are extracted and then they become food for crocodiles.
“Your job for exporting is to make money; while you are making money, my job is to protect Ugandans,” Otafiire said. “You can’t sell Ugandans when we are looking on. On this, there is no compromise. They just take you to Saudi Arabia, move you to some other place like Thailand, harvest your heart, kidney or liver and throw the body to crocodiles. And you want me to hear that and keep quiet? There I will not go to heaven.”
Nevertheless, Otafiire did not provide numbers of Ugandans believed to have lost their body organs to traffickers or have been killed and fed to crocodiles. In addition, Otafiire did not comprehensively name the places where body organ harvesting is taking place so that they can be avoided.
Judith Nakintu is one of the females who was returned in October last year with the right kidney missing and she is currently in a vegetative state in Mityana district. Martha Apio from Pallisa went to work in Saudi Arabia in 2018 but to date, her family members do not know whether she is still alive or dead.
Such incidents, according to Otafiire, explain that labour exporters are just after making money at the expense of Ugandan lives. Otafiire has promised to do whatever is within his means to protect Ugandans who have been targeted for internal organs.
He warns there will be no compromise with any labour exporter who will not follow the criteria his ministry is setting up to regulate labour export industry. Otafiire in May this year issued a directive to labour exporters to start taking their clients to Victoria Hospital for comprehensive body organ testing.
However, Ronnie Mukundane, the spokesperson for Uganda Association for External Recruitment Agencies, said it is not possible to get fake results because the clinics they use to test all people going for external labour were certified by the Gulf Cooperation Council –GCC.
Mukundane insists instead that it Victoria Hospital as far as they know is not among those that were certified by GCC and therefore they cannot take their clients there. But Otafiire says at the time he issued his May letter, it was only Victoria hospital that met the criteria for comprehensive organ testing. The minister adds that they have given chance all other medical facilities in the country to meet the requirements.