Friday, 3 January 2014

MPs Back UPDF Deployment In South Sudan

UPDF soldiers.
 UPDF soldiers.


Some Ugandan Members of Parliament have supported the move by government to deploy the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in South Sudan.
At least 1,000 people have died since fighting erupted last month between supporters of President Salva Kiir and those of his sacked deputy Riek Machar.
The legislators say it was a good move to save Ugandans in the now volatile country.
MPs Omona Kenneth, Peter Ogwang and Tonny Ayoo say President Yoweri Museveni’s intervention in South Sudan was necessary since Uganda and South Sudan have good relations and that the new nation participated in peace talks between Government of Uganda and Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.
This comes two days after a cross section of other MPs attacked President Museveni on his intervention in South Sudan crisis and issuing an ultimatum to rebel leader Riek Machar to embrace dialogue. The MPs, mainly from the opposition, accused the President of sidelining parliament when deploying troops outside the country.
But Kaberamaido MP MP Kenneth Omona, said there is a blood relationship between Uganda and South Sudan and that UPDF intervention helped evacuate over 1100 Ugandans stuck in the conflict.
Omona defended President Museveni on the statements he made in South Sudan recently while warning Riek Machar saying that the statements were just amplified by the President since it was a position of regional governments.
Section 39 of the UPDF Act allows the President to deploy troops outside Uganda for purposes of peace keeping or peace enforcement. The section however provides for such deployment to be done with the approval of parliament.
Under Article 210 of the Constitution Parliament must be consulted before the Country’s forces are deployed in another country.  The MPs now demand that Parliament be recalled from recess so that they debate the South Sudan issue.
Youth MP Peter Ogwang noted that before UPDF’s intervention, most of the Ugandans in South Sudan were losing goods and lives and that Museveni deserves credit for trying to save the situation.
He added that the world witnessed genocide happen in Rwanda and that he could not wait to see history repeat itself in South Sudan because Parliament has to sit first and approve army deployment.
Kwania MP Tonny Ayoo noted that UPDF intervention was timely but called upon government to communicate to parliament why it deployed the army before approval by Parliament.
South Sudan is the world’s newest state. It was formed in 2011, gaining independence from Sudan after decades of conflict.