By Ahmad Muto
Singer Pius Mayanja, alias Pallaso, has revealed he has only two years left on his 10-year US travel ban. The Malamu singer it was a result of some choices he made totally unaware of the magnitude of the repercussions.
“As a young man, I made some bad choices and for that I was banned from going there for ten years. It is now eight down so two to go. I know they can even lift it before making 10, but still, it is ending soon,” he said.
This comes after it emerged he secured a UK visa and work permit to go stage a concert there for the first time, yet it was believed that he was either also banned from travelling there or promoters did not want to bet on him because of his reputation in the US.
“I am being taken to London by a promoter called Mosh Entertainment. A lot was said that I cannot go there because I was banned, but he was professional and got in touch. Actually, there was no promoter there ready to handle my demands as an artiste. He put them in place and set the venue right. Now the show has been confirmed,” explained Pallaso while appearing on a local television station.
In an interview in 2020, he said he was not deported because of a criminal record as it was being claimed but rather, he made a decision to return to promote the song Amaaso, but ended up overstaying here in Uganda, the reason the US gave him a 10 year travel ban.
However, city lawyer and former president of the Uganda Law Society (ULS), Simon Peter Kinobe said nobody can get banned for overstaying anywhere, it will have to be a big issue.
“No, he cannot be banned because he is a citizen and this is his country. So, it is not possible they could have banned him for overstaying here. By the time they put you on the banned list, there is something grave you have done. Either you have killed people, you are linked to terrorism, you are a drug dealer. It has to be grave. You cannot be banned for overstaying there or here if your visa is valid. Even when it expires they can ask you to apply for an extension, but not ban you,” he explained.
He also added that as much as only two years are left, the US have a judicial system and so if he was banned unfairly, he could have appealed, but if he did not, then he is probably guilty. Therefore, even after the 10 years have elapsed, he will have to go through another judicial process to be put off the blacklist otherwise he still will not travel. Kinobe stressed that for drugs/contraband, one can receive a lifetime travel ban.
Pallaso left Uganda in 2006 for the US to work. When he got into trouble with the authorities, he returned – he insists he was not deported – in 2014 and got his breakthrough after a collaboration with the late Mowzey Radio and Weasel titled Amaaso became a hit.