UN withdraws proposal to shift regional base from Uganda

UN withdraws proposal to shift regional base from Uganda
Staff at the UN Regional Base in Entebbe. Courtesy Photo

The United Nations (UN) has withdrawn the proposal to relocate the Entebbe Regional Service Centre.

This was revealed by the Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga who was presiding over plenary on Thursday evening.

The Speaker who announced the development as good news from the UN, said it was a relief and thanked Government for the spirited fight.

Don Wanyama, presidential spokesperson has told media that the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has written to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni about the decision taken.

Wanyama said Uganda’s ambassador at the UN Adonia Ayebare also confirmed that the UN will not move its base.

A move by United Nations Secretary-general Antonio Guterres to relocate the base from Uganda to another capital drew concerns among Ugandans and the political leadership.

The Kenyan Capital of Nairobi, Budapest in Hungary and Mexico City had been among the locations shortlisted as hosts to the office. The base provides support for UN field missions in Africa.

The base was established at Entebbe International Airport, 40 km south of the capital Kampala after Uganda and the UN signed a memorandum of understanding in July 2010, according to Uganda’s foreign ministry.

The base is the hub for all administrative, logistical, information and communications technology services to missions in Africa. It is supported by 427 approved staff, including 134 international staff, 285 Ugandan staff and eight United Nations volunteers.

Parliament on Wednesday adopted the motion to have the United Nations Regional Service Centre retained in Uganda. President Museveni wrote to Secretary General Antonio Guterres in protest of the move, describing it as unfair.

According to Ugandan legislators, Uganda qualifies to retain the base, that they actually won the bid to host in 2010.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem says Uganda has the good infrastructure required by the UN, Uganda is stable and also the fact that Uganda has good health care system.

by Michael Wandati