By William Madouk Garang
Ugandan activist has revealed a shocking ‘money extortion scheme’ by some immigration officers who ask for $50 to $100 pay as another visa registration fees for aliens at the airport.
Stella Nyanzi, a dissident African Feminist explained that immigration officers harassed her after she refused to pay money for having a second laptop.
“When I asked him why, he ordered me to follow an un-identified and un-uniformed man. When I refused to follow this complete stranger, your immigration officer in uniform and on duty threatened to arrest me” Nyanzi narrated in letter addressed to President Salva Kiir.
“I screamed even louder and demanding for women officers. When two women came, they manhandled me in the presence of all at the airport, causing me to collapse onto the floor” she continued.
When contacted for comment, the Director for Information and Public Relations at the Directorate of Civil Registry, Nationality, Passport and Immigration, Col. James Mapuor said the complaint has reached the top authority.
Mapuor further said the Ministry of Interior plus other concerned government officials will give their response regarding the matter that ‘smudged immigration officers of malpractice’ on Monday (today).
Ms. Nyanzi who was in the country to attend alleged international conference, said she was then rescued by another immigration officer identified as Captain Akuot Aquila, who escorted her to driver and apologized on behalf of his colleagues.
She appealed to President Kiir to address the shameful high level of bribery and corruption at the airport to woo tourists, and foreign investors to come to the country.
“I observed immigration officers in uniform asking guests with visas from South Sudan embassies in their home countries to pay between $50 and $100 for a second so-called ‘visa registration’,” Ms. Nyanzi said.
“Mayardit, please clean up your airport so that I have nothing to complain about when I return next to Juba” she asserted.
The statement posted by the activist on her Facebook was responded to with mix reactions, as some South Sudanese feel sorry for what happened – while others said Ms. Nyanzi was just seeking for attention.
Stella Nyanzi is a Ugandan human rights advocate, poet, medical anthropologist, feminist, queer rights advocate and scholar of sexuality family planning and public health.
In 2017, she was arrested for insulting Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and on January 2022 she was accepted to live in Germany on a writers-in-exile programme run by PEN Germany, with her three children.