Following a series of gang attacks on the Chinese business community in Uganda, the country’s president, Yoweri Museveni on Wednesday announced new security measures, including directing the army to protect these Chinese workers.
Museveni, who made this known while meeting a group of 120 Chinese investors said that military units will be deployed at Chinese industrial parks from where security officials can be called upon in case of an attack.
As part of the new security measures, patrols in these industrial parks would be increased while further CCTV installations will be available in industrial parks.
China has huge investments in Uganda, including the establishment of several industrial parks across the east African country. The Chinese are also financiers of major infrastructure projects such as the expansion of Entebbe International Airport, the principal international airport of Uganda and the Karuma and Isimba hydropower plants.
But lately, these Chinese investors have come under increased attacks and robberies that have left many of them injured and subsequently discouraged. Museveni, who is now pressurized to provide increased security in the midst of these concerns believes that “this is a simple problem to solve.”
Explaining that the operation will be military-led, he said that any security worker who loses a gun while guarding a Chinese business could face a court-martial, following concerns that some security guards could have been major contributors of these attacks, news site BBC reported.
This new assurance by the Ugandan leader to the Chinese investors comes on the back of reports this year that scores of Ugandan women were stranded with babies fathered by Chinese workers. China has found a home in Africa and many Chinese workers troop into countries in all four sub-Saharan regions to engage in construction and mining work.
Their migration is part of agreements with African governments to allow the Chinese to build infrastructure and develop the continent while deepening bilateral relations.
However, the relations have gone beyond governments as the Chinese workers, who are temporary migrants, sow their seeds in African soil by fathering unwanted children with young African women and girls who have no means to fend for them.
Mining towns in Ghana, communities around the Karuma dam construction site in Uganda and the Thika Road construction site in Kenya among many other communities around the continent have hundreds of Chinese-looking babies of African women and girls without fathers.
Moreover, last year, hundreds of Ugandans took to the streets of Kampala, Uganda’s capital, to protest unfair competition from local Chinese retailers. The irate protesters complained that their Chinese competitors are usually offered tax privileges by the Ugandan government, which ultimately gives them a competitive advantage in terms of pricing.
The disgruntled traders argued that most Chinese and Indian traders come to Uganda disguised as investors and manufacturers, which legally qualifies them for tax exemption, only to end up dealing in cheap commodities that they sell at throwaway prices to the disadvantage of local retailers.