Internal Affairs stuck with processing passports amid incest cases

Uganda's Internal Affairs scales down production of new passports by half
Spokesperson of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Simon Peter Mundeyi

Kampala, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | The Ministry of Internal Affairs has said that it is currently facing a challenge with a minimum of 80 passports, as their applications remain incomplete due to insufficient information provided by the applicants that are children sired by close biological relatives.

According to Simon Mundeyi, the ministry spokesperson, speaking to journalists on Monday 18, December 2023, there hasn’t been progress in processing these passport applications. The owners, involved in incest cases, have declined to provide the necessary details, resulting in a backlog in the application process.

“We have a number of passports which have been deferred and are pending because of insufficient information. What is surprising is that open of the key reasons is failure to respond to questions put across by passport officers,” Mundeyi said.

Mundeyi clarified that the current situation arises from the discrepancy in information, specifically the failure to provide accurate details consistent with the data submitted to the National Identification and Registration Authority (NIRA) for national ID issuance.

He emphasized that, as part of the passport processing procedure, officers verify that the information, particularly regarding parents or guardians, aligns with the details provided during the national ID application. Yet, in these passport applications, Mundeyi highlighted that there is a mismatch in the information provided.

East African Community (EAC) e-passports

The spokesperson said that a woman, whose particulars he withheld for legal and data protection reasons,broke down and sobbed uncontrollably when asked abounds details of her child’s father and spoke out only after prolongoged counselling.

“We have heard very unique cases because there is a lot of incest going on as women sire children with their own fathers and brothers. They cannot feel free to put that information in the passport application system,” Mundeyi said.“

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“Recently we got a serious case of a lady with a son who got scholarship to go study in Canda and the father was his elder brother. She reached a moment where she couldn’t lie anymore and needed a passport for this boy. We just saw the lady bursting in tears and efforts to calm her down fell on deaf ears but after a long time of counseling, she revealed this information. Such cases are coming up and complicating passport work,” Mundeyi added.

Mundeyi advised applicants to confidentially communicate such issues with officers at the passport office. This approach allows officials to assess the situation and explore solutions rather than leaving the passport applications incomplete.

“Even if the father of the kid is your father, uncle or brother, we shall issue them a passport since they are all Ugandans,” he said.