Parliament Debates on the Deployment of UPDF in South Sudan

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A special session at Parliament debating on a motion to authorise the President of Uganda’s deployment of UPDF to South Sudan has begun on Tuesday.

The motion in Parliament was moved by Hon. Crispus Kiyonga, Minister of Defence and seconded by Hon. Ruth Nankabirwa, Hon.Okuonzi and Hon. Tony Ayoo.

This follows members of Parliament demanding the government to explain why they sent Ugandan troops to South Sudan without seeking the approval of Parliament.

The Violence in South Sudan has been ongoing since December 15 when rebels led by their leader Riek Machar attempted a coup on Salva Kiir’s government.

Uganda has deployed troops to help in the evacuation of Ugandans and to ensure there is peace in the region.

However, this has caused argument among Uganda leaders as to why the government would send troops there for our soldiers to be killed.

The Special session reveals that the number of recorded refugees in Uganda from South Sudan currently stands at 48,787.

Debate

MP Medard Seggona hailed the UPDF for rescuing Ugandans that had been trapped in South Sudan but emphasised that government needed approval of Parliament first.

“Under article 209, the functions of the UPDF are clearly stated and so UPDF deployment outside the county must be done in conformity with article,” he said.

He said even if the government wants to protect its citizens, they must do it within the law.

Seggona argued that the president’s action of taking sides has actually endangered the lives of Ugandans in South Sudan.

He said he got a source of information that President Museveni had given rebel leader Riek Machar a 4-day ultimatum to stop the fighting.

However, when demanded to present the source of information, he kept referring to government newspaper and television.

Speaking before the plenary session, Hon Oketta defended the government saying what happened by sending troops to South Sudan was due to a collective effort to save our neighbor country.

Gen Oketta also challenged the reports that 1,000 Ugandan soldiers were killed as claim, “It was the US aircraft shot at, not UPDF.”

The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala has strongly defended the government for sending troops to South Sudan.

He said the situation in South Sudan was not a small matter, “it had all the hallmarks of the genocide” and so there is no way they would have waited to deploy when situation was getting worse.

“Let’s value our people. Can you compare money spent to the lives of those that we have saved?” Gen. Katumba asked.

He assured the MPs that the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) stood firm while other nations were deserting it.

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