News / Africa

Uganda Lawmakers Demand Answers about Troops in South Sudan

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, November 30, 2012.
Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, November 30, 2012.
Peter Clottey
Members of Uganda’s parliament are demanding answers from President Yoweri Museveni after deploying troops from the national army to South Sudan without seeking parliamentary authorization as enshrined in the constitution, according to parliamentarian Medard Sseggona.

On his recent visit to South Sudan as part of an effort to help resolve the security crisis there, Museveni said East African nations have warned South Sudan’s former Vice President Riek Machar to comply with a cease-fire or face action by regional nations.

But Sseggona says it was inappropriate for Museveni to interfere in South Sudan’s internal affairs, which he says could create tension and worsen the security situation there due to that country’s ethnic complexities.

“The president threatened Riek Machar with pulling him out of the bush, which is not our political, economic or social interest to interfere with the internal affairs of the government of South Sudan,” said Sseggona.

He says Museveni contravened the constitution by deploying troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) to South Sudan without parliamentary approval.

“We are asking for an explanation as to how the government deployed our forces in South Sudan without consulting and obtaining a parliamentary resolution as required by article 210 of our constitution,” said Sseggona. “We demand to know how many of our children have died in South Sudan [and] two how many of our soldiers have been deployed in South Sudan and for how long? Because it would appear we might be there forever.”

But supporters of the government rejected the lawmakers’ demands as a publicity stunt. They contend that President Museveni has the constitutional mandate to protect citizens irrespective of where they are, and has deployed the troops to evacuate Ugandans trapped in South Sudan due to the conflict there.

“We want the president to tell us how many people he has rescued from South Sudan,” said Sseggona. “We’ve actually demanded that parliament be recalled to discuss this [South Sudan] crisis, because we are risking Ugandans by threatening to intervene or to interfere in an internal conflict.”

Uganda foreign ministry spokesman Fred Opolot told VOA that the UPDF troops are in South Sudan to protect and evacuate citizens.

“Our major concern is to ensure that [our citizens] are safe, and if not they are evacuated so that process is ongoing,” said Opolot. “Uganda People’s Defense Forces [are] in Juba to secure the airport, in order to ensure that the evacuation process goes very smoothly.”

Opolot denied reports that the government in Kampala sent UPDF troops to support South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir in the ongoing conflict in Africa’s newest nation.

But Sseggona says the legislators demands are legitimate and in accordance with the constitution.

“We must know in specific terms what are our interests; the political, economic and social interests,” said Sseggona. “Apart from good neighborliness, apart from rescuing our sons and daughters who may be faced with death in South Sudan, we must know the broader and long term objective in South Sudan.”
Clottey interview with Medard Lubega Sseggona, Ugandan legislator
Clottey interview with Medard Lubega Sseggona, Ugandan legislatori
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Comments
     
by: Fred akiiki from: ugandan in juba
January 06, 2014 10:30 PM
no the UPDF are here 2 protect ug citizen &to evaquet them out the south Sudan country

by: Magendo from: Canada
January 05, 2014 2:56 AM
The unilateral decision made by Mr. President is just as good as a HolyWood stunt, which doesn't reflect Ugandan values at all. Ugandans are not war mongers and Mr. President shouldn't use the war in South Sudan, as a ticket for foreign aid compaign.

by: Magona from: Uganda
January 04, 2014 2:56 AM
M7 always has his interests

by: Magona from: Uganda
January 04, 2014 2:53 AM
Its good but m7 has 2 obey the constitution

by: Nelson from: USA
January 03, 2014 3:41 PM
Uganda president Museveni, did good for taking part in South Sudan. East Africans are not only neighbors, but they are brothers, or sisters. So, why shouldn't they help each other or solve there problems. I strongly supported Uganda president, with his move. Becsuse president Museveni, is always a great father, brother and leader to all of us in East Africa or whole Africa. No change Museveni, you the best.

by: Leko from: East London
January 02, 2014 7:43 PM
I'm beginning to respect M7 , leaders must be allowed to take decisions and act accordingly . preventing further crimes these rebels are committing . Opposition he received from his backyard is ineffective as MDC in Zimbabwe .
Any democratic elected government must be protected by African forces ... unlike the mess happening in CAR , its a blunder to protect self-proclaimed president in that country - his a rebel - and I'm glad South Africa is not involved anymore there . If our soldiers have go there , they must assist in election process only.

by: Alem
January 01, 2014 10:27 PM
Museveni is out to repeat his robbery in the Congo in South Sudan. Just wait. As with Ethiopian leaders he will run errands for the West in the process of which he will remain in power indefinitely, embezzle aid money, silence any opposition and get paid tens of millions dollars.
In Response

by: Morris from: Juba
January 02, 2014 3:50 AM
Museveni Should open his eyes, Instead of mediating peace he is now involved in air bombardment, We south Sudanese denounce his act.

by: Anonymous
January 01, 2014 4:31 PM
Who is fooling who? There are no law makers in Uganda to speak of other than the junta jungle laws, everything else is just to fool the West that gives aid that Uganda has institutions. It has none, gun totting tyrants full of greed cannot operate where there are credible institutions. The only role of Museveni now is geopolitics for the West, just like Mubarak & now Al-Sisi of Egypt kept/keep a yoke on a nation to enrich themselves etc. Such leaders are of no use to their nations' posterity & progress. It is fool hardy to imagine law makers in Uganda or Egypt have any say. For Uganda unless Museveni is looking for a way to run out of the trouble he finds himself in after careless pronouncements in Juba to go after Machar-which he cannot manage alone without USA and major UN and AU support for that war adventure
In Response

by: Anonymous
January 02, 2014 1:19 AM
The President has been interfering in many Countries. I am surprised the lawmakers are asking Museveni to ask the parliament first. When Uganda sent troops on several occasion in DRC the same lawyers never ask him to ask the parliament. Where were these lawyers? The President is running the Country as his own home by doing whatever pleases him. Parliament does not mean anything for him. That his leadership style. The President has abused the office and I think his time is running out. His doing the same as other dictators did but never learned a lesson. I think there is a Powerful demon that blind all these leaders. They never learn from the past.

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