Citizenship, Political and Economic Participation in Developing Countries: Uganda’s Experience

Author Name

Atwine Ambrose Bahiigi

Author Address

Ministry of Internal Affairs, Directorate of Citizenship & Immigration Control, P.O Box 7165/7191, Kampala Mob: 0772 855 788/ 0712 420 693 E-mail: [email protected]


Citizenship, Political and Economic Participation in Developing Countries: Uganda’s Experience


Citizenship continues to be critical in defining the relationship between the state, the people and the resources. The dynamics in access to, control over and ownership of the resources in the global setting call for the twist and revision of laws concerning citizenship to cater for the challenges that come along. Migrations are inevitable and pose pressure to host countries but also attract benefits to the same host countries. Most countries party to the international human rights instruments have the humanitarian obligation to manage involuntary migrations and protect the rights of the involuntary immigrants.

However, these instruments seem to be used, misused and abused by the immigrants and when later on discovered may pose a challenge of the impossibility of ‘aborting a pregnancy when a baby is born’. Thus, the procedure those immigrants undergo impact on their future citizenship in as far as their partaking of the resources, participating in development and other economic and political engagements. For instance, the present president of Rwanda, His Excellence Paul Kagame was a Uganda National Resistance Army (NRA) soldier before he went back to Kigali Rwanda as the president while His Excellency Barack Obama traces his origins from Kenya. In 1971 president Idi Amin of Uganda gave all Indians who were not Ugandans only 90 (ninety) days to leave Uganda arguing that they were ‘milking cows which they didn’t feed.’ These and other experiences trigger our thinking and analysis how immigrants are valued in host countries and how their immigration status may be a blessing to the holder or the state. This analysis of the legal, political and economic environments embraced by regimes is critical to appreciating the state-immigrant nexus.

In this state-immigrant relationship gender is another perspective that need to be taken care of if a proper analysis is to be made. How men and women are treated when citizenship is a question seems to be an interesting perspective. Therefore, questions of how do men and women acquire citizenship? What factors are considered of men and in women in affording them citizenship? What challenges do women face as immigrants in their host countries visa-a vis their male counterparts? How are immigrants’ rights protected within the global legal and political framework? How does the economic regime address the challenges of immigrants?

Therefore, by sharing our Uganda’s experience of access to, control over and ownership of resources and the participation of immigrants having citizenship, political and economic factors determining their locus.


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