Ugandan lawmakers have passed a bill that says only Ugandans can be legal guardians of orphaned or destitute children.

Margaret Komuhangi, who led a committee that examined the draft legislation before it was passed Wednesday, said the bill eliminates a legal gap that allowed foreigners to apply for and get legal guardianship within days of arriving in the country.

She said the bill seeks to encourage more Ugandans to adopt orphaned or destitute children.

Marlon Agaba, a children's rights activist, said the bill is necessary to protect children from traffickers and unscrupulous foreigners who seek to adopt children here, sometimes without having ever set foot in Uganda.

He said many families, believing their children were going abroad for studies, had been duped into giving up their children.