News / Africa

Uganda's S. Sudan Involvement Sparks Controversy

FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (front R) arrives for the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi, July 31, 2013. FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (front R) arrives for the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi, July 31, 2013.
x
FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (front R) arrives for the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi, July 31, 2013.
FILE - Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni (front R) arrives for the Heads of States and Governments International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Nairobi, July 31, 2013.
Ugandan President Museveni has been very active in the South Sudan conflict since it erupted in mid-December, but many Ugandans would prefer their country to remain more detached. 

During a late December press conference, Museveni issued a stern warning to rebel leader Riek Machar, South Sudan’s former vice president.
 
“We gave Riek Machar some four days to respond, and if he doesn’t we shall have to go for him, all of us," Museveni warned. "I hear they are in the provinces trying to make trouble, but they will be defeated should they not come for peace.”

Museveni also sent troops to South Sudan, which the Ugandan military claims are merely guarding the airport and government buildings. But Uganda’s involvement in the conflict has been controversial on both sides of the border, including among Ugandan lawmakers themselves.

“The rhetoric itself denies Uganda the chance of playing a neutral role," said Wilfred Niwagaba, one of eight Ugandan MPs who held a news conference in late December rebuking the president for taking sides in the conflict and for plunging the country into war without the approval of parliament.
 
"We lose what we would have otherwise gained as a neutral arbiter, so we cannot participate as an arbiter in the Sudan. And regardless of how finally the war ends, our leadership will still be viewed as a partisan and biased partner," he added. "So the benefits of us remaining neutral would have definitely outweighed the advantages, if any, that are being obtained now.”
 
Niwagaba said that among other things, the government has not fully explained the rationale for getting involved in South Sudan.
 
“We do not know the cost of that war, both materially on the taxpayer of Uganda, and two, the human cost," Niwagaba noted.  "Our country now seems to be involved in so many wars. We are in Somalia, now the Sudan, the Central African Republic, but government has never come up to give us accountability. Who spends on these troops? And is it worth the cost?”
 
Uganda was a strong supporter of the SPLA during South Sudan’s independence war. Paul Omach, an expert on security studies at Kampala’s Makerere University said that as a result, Museveni enjoys considerable influence with his northern neighbor, particularly with South Sudan President Salva Kiir’s government.
 
“They talk at a personal level, those people come to him to consult," Omach said. "That’s what he wants, like a father figure. Like a big brother - he talks to them, and they listen to him.”
 
Museveni could be afraid of losing this influence were Machar to take power, Omach said, adding that such overt partisanship is risky, because it is not clear who will ultimately take control of the country.
 
“Does Salva Kiir have the capacity to survive? Do the Sudanese really want him? Does he have massive support? Now if he doesn’t have, then we would have boxed ourselves in a fix by supporting the wrong horse,” he said.
 
South Sudan’s politics are complex. Now that Uganda is involved, Omach said, it may find it difficult to extricate itself.  He said that instead, it should be up to regional bodies like the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to mediate.
 
“It would have been better if it was done under the auspices of an organization like IGAD," Omach suggested. "Then it cushions Uganda. But the fact that it went there as a lone intervener, the suspicion that you are advancing your interests or ulterior motives becomes much stronger.”
 
Despite dissenting voices in Kampala, more Ugandan troops were sent to South Sudan in early January. For now, at least, Museveni seems to have no intention of backing down.

You May Like

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the US are seeing gas prices dip below $3 a gallon More

Afghan Women's Soccer Team Building for the Future

A four-team female league was recently set up in Kabul; It will help identify players for the national team More

Video Koreas on Edge Amid Live-fire Drills

Pyongyang threatens nuclear test as joint US, S. Korean exercises show forces’ capabilities More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: John from: Melbourne
January 10, 2014 4:02 AM
Uganda president is doing the right thing. He need stability in the region for both economic and political reason. Machar should have not taken arms if he need stability. Museveni is doing what a wise leader should do.


by: walter Donge from: South Sudan, USA
January 09, 2014 1:20 PM
Take care of one another and environment is big deal for all of us in the wold. I wish Ugandan President Museveni can learn from Nelson Mandela history pass about human life. I believed any human who not understood the life we live in, can learn from greatest leader like Nelson Mandela or Dr Martin Luther King Jr. history. Let's focus today on renewing our reverence and respect for the beauty of our environment and everything in it- especially for the beauty of one another. Close your eyes and think about the most beautiful place you know. Is it a building or is it a place in nature like South Sudan ? If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere. As you go through your day, really see what is around you. notice a tree, or a small animal, but if we not care of one another in life. Am not worry about what Ugandan President Museveni do to my people in South Sudan because Hitler from nazi did it too, complete all Jews but just what few of them survive and now we have Jews Sate. Museveni and Kiir will never clean Nuer people on Earth never. To my Nuer fellow from US, Canada, Ethiopia, Australia, Europe, Rwanda don't worry it time for Kiir and Museveni coming. If just Kiir and Museveni do this to us i wound worry about that, they nothing to world.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid