News / Africa

Uganda Defense Minister to Appear Before Parliament

Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
Refugees who fled the recent violence in South Sudan and crossed the border into Uganda, settle in the village of Ochaya, Jan. 7, 2013.
Peter Clottey
Uganda’s parliament has summoned the defense minister, Crispus Kiyonga, to appear before the defense and internal affairs committee on Thursday to explain the deployment of Ugandan troops to neighboring South Sudan.

Frederick Mbagadhi Nkayi, a leading member of the parliamentary committee, expressed support for the deployment but also said the legislative body has to examine the rationale behind the deployment of the troops to South Sudan. 

Speaking to VOA, Nkayi says he supports the government’s actions.

“We are supposed to be interacting with the minister of defense, of course, over concerns of our forces having gone to South Sudan,” said Nkayi. “I feel extremely happy that our forces moved very fast to intervene in this conflict. To us, as a nation and stakeholders in the affairs of our country, we are so much interested in the safety of our people.”

Some legislators objected to the presidential initiative. They accused President Yoweri Museveni of contravening the constitution by failing to seek parliamentary approval before deploying troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) to South Sudan to evacuate Ugandan citizens trapped there due to the conflict.

Nkayi disagrees with the president's critics. “Parliament was in recess and the situation on the ground calls for an immediate intervention. Of course, what I would have [done] is to secure the passage of our people, then possibly convene parliament and ratify whatever action would have taken place,” said Nkayi.

“If the UPDF had not moved very swiftly to create safe passage for our people, then that means we would have lost thousands of them.”

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.”

But some parliamentarians say there have been reports that the UPDF troops are involved in South Sudan’s conflict in spite of the (Ugandan) government’s insistence that the soldiers are there to secure the airport, protect and evacuate citizens.

South Sudan’s former vice president Riek Machar accused the UPDF of supporting troops loyal to President Salva Kiir in the conflict. Kampala denies the charge.

Nkayi says the Ugandan troops are there help the peace process. “We do believe that UPDF is supposed to be playing a neutral role to ensure that the warring factions can come on a round table and talk peace,” said Nkayi.

He says the defense minister would have to clarify the role of Ugandan troops in South Sudan’s ongoing conflict when he appears before parliament. 

“The starting point would be to know exactly how have we have gone with that crisis in South Sudan, because outrightly, we need to hear from the horse’s mouth, especially from the minister of defense, what has transpired on the ground in South Sudan,” said Nkayi.

South Sudan’s two warring factions are in talks in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa to find ways of ending the conflict which has so far left over 1,000 dead and tens of thousands internally displaced. The talks have been sanctioned by the regional bloc, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD).

Nkayi says parliamentarians want to know what the end game is for UPDF troops in South Sudan.

“We had concerns of really having our people get out of South Sudan safely,” said Nkayi. “But we are also interested in knowing, 'Is it under the IGAD arrangement? Is it under the African Union arrangement?'

"All these are questions that linger in the minds of many.”

Clottey interview with Frederick Mbagadhi Nkayi, Ugandan parliamentarian
Clottey interview with Frederick Mbagadhi Nkayi, Ugandan parliamentariani
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X

You May Like

Taliban's New Leader Says Jihad Will Continue

Top US Afghan diplomat also meets with Pakistani, Afghan officials following news of Mullah Omar's death More

Video Empire State Building Highlights Cecil the Lion

People gathered in streets and rooftops in Manhattan to see the image highlights that covered 33 floors of the building More

World’s Widest Suspension Bridge Being Built Over Bosphorus

Once built, Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge will span 2 kilometers with about 1.5 kilometers over water, and will be longest suspension bridge in world carrying rail system More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: South Sudanese from: Juba
January 09, 2014 4:27 AM
UPDF in South Sudan soil has already taken side with the president Kirr without consulting the IGAD and African Union and these in long run will have bad relationship with government of Uganda and specially with Ugandans traders in South Sudan.

by: Tash from: South Sudan
January 09, 2014 1:45 AM
In 2005, as South Sudan moved closer to autonomy, Kony agreed to negotiate with Uganda's government under the mediation of Machar. Those talks failed and, in late 2008, Kony and his top commanders fled their base in the forests of east Congo only hours before Uganda's military moved in to launch an aerial assault. Some in Uganda's military believe Machar warned Kony of the impending attack.

"Machar is an independent actor whose shifting loyalties – especially his ability to work with Khartoum – probably unnerves Museveni, who sees his assent to power in South Sudan as riskier for Ugandan interests," "Even now I suspect he considers Machar as a proxy for Khartoum ... Any situation that gives Machar advantage may be considered a danger to Museveni and a direct threat to Uganda."

by: Ann Garrison from: Oakland, CA
January 09, 2014 12:49 AM
On January 3, 2014, the New York Times reported that:

"As with Syria and other sectarian conflicts, Mr. Obama does not have many good options. With no plans for American military intervention, the United States is frantically brokering peace talks between the warring factions while trying to fortify a United Nations peacekeeping force. It is also consulting Uganda and Ethiopia, whose troops could intervene to prevent rebels from seizing South Sudan’s capital, Juba."

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missionsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
George Putic
July 30, 2015 8:59 PM
Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Astronauts Train Underwater for Deep Space Missions

Manned deep space missions are still a long way off, but space agencies are already testing procedures, equipment and human stamina for operations in extreme environment conditions. Small groups of astronauts take turns in spending days in an underwater lab, off Florida’s southern coast, simulating future missions to some remote world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Civil Rights Leaders Struggled to Achieve Voting Rights Act

Fifty years ago, lawmakers approved, and U.S. President Lyndon Johnson signed, the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The measure outlawed racial discrimination in voting, giving millions of blacks in many parts of the southern United States federal enforcement of the right to vote. Correspondent Chris Simkins introduces us to some civil rights leaders who were on the front lines in the struggle for voting rights.
Video

Video Booming London Property a ‘Haven for Dirty Money’

Billions of dollars of so-called ‘dirty money’ from the proceeds of crime - especially from Russia - are being laundered through the London property market, according to anti-corruption activists. As Henry Ridgwell reports from the British capital, the government has pledged to crack down on the practice.
Video

Video Hometown of Boy Scouts of America Founder Reacts to Gay Leader Decision

Ottawa, Illinois, is the hometown of W.D. Boyce, who founded the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. In Ottawa, where Scouting remains an important part of the legacy of the community, the end of the organization's ban on openly gay adult leaders was seen as inevitable. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video 'Metal Muscles' Flex a New Bionic Hand

Artificial limbs, including the most complex of them – the human hand – are getting more life-like and useful due to constant advances in tiny hydraulic, pneumatic and electric motors called actuators. But now, as VOA’s George Putic reports, scientists in Germany say the future of the prosthetic hand may lie not in motors but in wires that can ‘remember’ their shape.
Video

Video Russia Accused of Abusing Interpol to Pursue Opponents

A British pro-democracy group has accused Russia of abusing the global law enforcement agency Interpol by requesting the arrest and extradition of political opponents. A new report by the group notes such requests can mean the accused are unable to travel and are often unable to open bank accounts. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video 'Positive Atmosphere' Points Toward TPP Trade Deal in Hawaii

Talks on a major new trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations are said to be nearing completion in Hawaii. Some trade experts say the "positive atmosphere" at the discussions could mean a deal is within reach, but there is still hard bargaining to be done over many issues and products, including U.S. drugs and Japanese rice. VOA's Jim Randle reports.
Video

Video Genome Initiative Urgently Moves to Freeze DNA Before Species Go Extinct

Earth is in the midst of its sixth mass extinction. The last such event was caused by an asteroid 66 million years ago. It killed off the dinosaurs and practically everything else. So scientists are in a race against time to classify the estimated 11 million species alive today. So far only 2 million are described by science, and researchers are worried many will disappear before they even have a name. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Scientists: One-Dose Malaria Cure is Possible

Scientists have long been trying to develop an effective protection and cure for malaria - one of the deadliest diseases that affects people in tropical areas, especially children. As the World Health Organization announces plans to begin clinical trials of a promising new vaccine, scientists in South Africa report that they too are at an important threshold. George Putic reports, they are testing a compound that could be a single-dose cure for malaria.
Video

Video 'New York' Magazine Features 35 Cosby Accusers

The latest issue of 'New York' magazine features 35 women who say they were drugged and raped by film and television celebrity Bill Cosby. The women are aged from 44 to 80 and come from different walks of life and races. The magazine interviewed each of them separately, but Zlatica Hoke reports their stories are similar.
Video

Video US Calls Fight Against Human Trafficking a Must Win

The United States is promising not to give up its fight against what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the “scourge” of modern slavery. Officials released the country’s annual human trafficking report Monday – a report that’s being met with some criticism. VOA’s National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more from the State Department.
Video

Video Washington DC Underground Streetcar Station to Become Arts Venue

Abandoned more than 50 years ago, the underground streetcar station in Washington D.C.’s historic DuPont Circle district is about to be reborn. The plan calls for turning the spacious underground platforms - once meant to be a transportation hub, - into a unique space for art exhibitions, presentations, concerts and even a film set. Roman Mamonov has more from beneath the streets of the U.S. capital. Joy Wagner narrates his report.
Video

Video Europe’s Twin Crises Collide in Greece as Migrant Numbers Soar

Greece has replaced Italy as the main gateway for migrants into Europe, with more than 100,000 arrivals in the first six months of 2015. Many want to move further into Europe and escape Greece’s economic crisis, but they face widespread dangers on the journey overland through the Balkans. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Stink Intensifies as Lebanon’s Trash Crisis Continues

After the closure of a major rubbish dump a week ago, the streets of Beirut are filling up with trash. Having failed to draw up a plan B, politicians are struggling to deal with the problem. John Owens has more for VOA from Beirut.
Video

Video Paris Rolls Out Blueprint to Fight Climate Change

A U.N. climate conference in December aims to produce an ambitious agreement to fight heat-trapping greenhouse gases. But many local governments are not waiting, and have drafted their own climate action plans. That’s the case with Paris — which is getting special attention, since it’s hosting the climate summit. Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at the transformation of the French capital into an eco-city.

VOA Blogs