The Promota Magazine
Readers letter: Corruption in Uganda Passports office
I decided to share my appaling experience at Uganda’s passport office with the Promota’s readers.
A while ago, my passport got accidentally washed and I had to apply for a new one. However, prior to heading to the office, I met a friend who had just renewed his own and gave me his personal account. What I heard from the colleague was not appealing at all. The man had applied for the passport a month before and had not received it yet, although he was informed that he should receive it within three weeks. The reason for all this delay, according to him, was because he did not ‘part with any coins’. He did not mind the delay because he was not travelling anyway and also because he detests giving out money before he is being helped.
On Monday 25th February, I went with him to the Passport Office and what I went through there was indeed an ordeal. From the application form to when one has to be interviewed, the processes of receiving a passport appears complicated. It is also clear that corruption is at its peak. Nevertheless, I tried to go through the confused process and from the cashiers’ office to entering the interview room, it is indeed a nightmare. Most of the officers there are rude. Every one of them tries to see that they prevail over customers to get something out them. The most annoying one was a lady in the cashiers’ office. She bluntly asked me for money in order to help get the passport in the shortest time possible. Of course, my circumstances meant that I was supposed to part with some money if I was to get support and receive my passport in time. The immediate fee was 300,000/=. What pained me most was that there was a woman who seemed to have travelled from the village and did not seem to have money but, being coerced by this cashier woman, she ended up parting with the 300,000/=.
Every officer in these premises, in the cashiers’ or interview room, acts rudely, trying to get customers who can part with some cash. This is not an allegation but something which your investigating officers can, and should try to find out. In the interview room, even those guys in uniform seem to be involved in the racket as they also act rudely, but cool down when cash is mentioned!
It does seem to appear that due to the meagre pay that public officers receive, they expect to receive something extra, just so they can survive. If there was any way of legalising the whole process, it would help customers to know and part with the money in good faith without being treated inhumanly and rudely. The process of renewing my passport is ongoing I am not requesting for your input here but I am pointing out my observations made at the Passport Office. You might have tried to do something about this problem in the past, and if you haven’t, I would please expect something to be done now.
God bless Uganda
Dr. Emmy Wasirwa,
MD WANA Energy