By John Panther Mach
July 3rd 2019 (Nyamilepedia) – One of the main principal roles of immigration and customs at an airport is to facilitate the free movement of people as well as goods between the borders while preserving apposite compliance with the country law. This is done to guarantee that genuine travellers move across the borders quickly and unrestricted, as such, immigration and customs operations is designated at customs-controlled areas inside an airport terminal, physical border points, transportation hubs such as ports and railroad stations to process, assess and examine travellers and goods entering/exiting the country.
Immigration and customs operations focus its resources on those posing potential menace to the territorial borders of that country. This is the reason immigration and customs departments are funded so they ’re able to deploy competent employees that will manage travellers and goods entering or exiting the country. In simple terms, immigration and customs is fundamentally responsible for regulating the movement of goods, and sometimes people, into a country. They enforce laws and regulations pertinent to each state concerning inbound goods, people, animals, imports and exports respectively.
At Entebbe International Airport in Entebbe – Uganda, a new dawn of operation within immigration and customs is emerging but has never been uncovered by the concerned victims. This article is self-explanatory to the conducts of a syndicate operating outside the rules and regulations established by Ugandan immigration and customs. At Entebbe international airport, South Sudanese travelling to Australia, United States and Canada – those resettling to these countries have been harassed and forced to pay varying amounts in form of American dollars by immigration and customs officials.
These malevolent deeds have led to many victims pay in monetary value to meet the needs of the organizing syndicates, missed flights despite holding valid visas issued by Ugandan immigration and customs. On the 15th May 2019, my family became the victim of this systematized exploitation at the hands of immigration and customs officers at Entebbe International Airport. After arrival at the airport terminal building for the routine check-in three hours prior to departure, Ethiopian Airline check-in desk commenced, while checking-in, immigration & customs official showed up, my wife was called off the desk – while checking in. very bizarre undertaking for immigration and customs staff to leave their designated area inside the airport terminal building and unswervingly interfered with the work of an airline – immigration & customs don’t check-in passengers.
After attending to the call, what ensued is completely unprofessional and disrespectful not only to a South Sudanese citizen but to the calibre of the employees assigned to this prestigious institution by Ugandan immigration and customs. How the hell on earth will an airport – immigration and customs official harassed citizen of another sovereign state and demanded payment in United States dollars and threatened that you’re a visitor, you have to pay that amount or else, you go to Juba and fly from there, a defiant attitude that seriously ignored the validity of the visas of his own country issued under the auspices of the institution that employed him/her.
After missing the flight, my family returned home, frenzied by such delinquencies, I was pondering my next move. Two options came to my mind. Option 1 – book a new itinerary with flight origin at Entebbe International Airport and pay the ransom and embolden the syndicates to flourish at the expense of innocent South Sudanese. Option 2 – book a new itinerary with flight origin at one of the neighbouring East African Countries and learned more about the intransigencies existing within the Ugandan immigration and customs operations and expose the evidence thereafter.
Option 2 was more inclining, so, Jomo Kenyatta International Airport became the flight origin of the new booking. My family then travelled on land through Uganda – Kenya via Busia border, at this physical border point, they were exited by Ugandan immigration and customs without any drama. They continued their trip to Nairobi and finally flew out of Jomo Kenyatta International Airport to Melbourne Australia – kudos to Kenyan immigration and customs for respecting travellers transiting through their country – a huge indignity against Ugandan immigration and customs at Entebbe International Airport.
What happened inside Ugandan immigration and customs specifically the Entebbe International Airport branch is completely deplorable and deserve to be expose, there is a syndicate that is well alive – targeting and exploiting South Sudanese flying out of Uganda. Margie Warrell in her assertion – “every story you create, creates you” was indeed precise. In the past, Uganda has not only been my sanctuary but has always been my home. There was a reason former British PM Winston Churchill branded this nation as the “Pearl of Africa in 1907.”
With the experiences so far and by many, this beautiful branding is gradually slithering away. Discerning about that Churchill’s depiction and the experiences South Sudanese experienced owing to immigration and customs intransigencies at Entebbe International Airport, it left me completely awed, while at the same time reminiscing President Donald Trump’s shithole utterance regarding African countries and the political leaderships in the continent today.
Winston Churchill was right but his then articulation is vanishing or is already dead while President Donald Trump’s interjection remain undisputable. I appreciate President M7 for acknowledging the validity of President DT’s depiction of African countries at the time. That shithole shit is now predominant in the open – selling Uganda’s image insatiably and naively.
For South Sudanese in the diaspora, especially those who wish and/or are currently under the process of resettling their family members to their respective countries abroad, take heed from these prowling immigration and customs employees at Entebbe International Airport. Liaise with your embassies or consulates for assistance in dealing with this matter prior to booking an air ticket with Uganda as the origin of departure. If unsure, please use International Organization for Migration (IOM), or else, use Juba International Airport and/or any other East African countries and avoid Entebbe International Airport. South Sudanese embassy in Uganda is knowledgeable about this issue but is less influential in the meantime.
In different parts of the globe, an international airport serve as gateway for a nation – but for the subject matter, one can also concludes that they can be useful places for serendipitous encounters.
Author, John Panther Mach, is a concerned South Sudanese and can be reach via: firstname.lastname@example.org