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

Conflicts Engulf Christians in Mideast

Research finds an increase in faith-based hostilities, and Christians are facing persecution in a growing number of countries in the region More

Chinese Americans: Don’t Call Us 'Model Minority'

Label points to collective achievement, but some say it triggers resentment, unrealistic expectations More

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

Does increased monitoring suggest the government is nervous? 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.
West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015i
X
Carol Pearson
August 30, 2014 7:14 PM
A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video West Africa Ebola Vaccine Trials Possible by Early 2015

A U.S. health agency is speeding up clinical trials of a possible vaccine against the deadly Ebola virus that so far has killed more than 1,500 people in West Africa. If successful, the next step would be a larger trial in countries where the outbreak is occurring. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
Video

Video Survivors Commemorate 70th Anniversary of Nazi Liquidation of Polish Ghetto

When the Nazi army moved into the Polish city of Lodz in 1939, it marked the beginning of a long nightmare for the Jewish community that once made up one third of the population. Roughly 200,000 people were forced into the Lodz Ghetto. Less than 7,000 survived. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, some survivors gathered in Chicago on the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Lodz Ghetto to remember those who suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.
Video

Video Cost to Raise Child in US Continues to Rise

The cost of raising a child in the United States continues to rise. In its latest annual report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture says middle income families with a child born in 2013 can expect to spend more than $240,000 before that child turns 18. And sending that child to college more than doubles that amount. VOA’s Deborah Block visited with a couple with one child in Alexandria, Virginia, to learn if the report reflects their lifestyle.
Video

Video Chaotic Afghan Vote Recount Threatens Nation’s Future

Afghanistan’s troubled presidential election continues to be rocked by turmoil as an audit of the ballots drags on. The U.N. says the recount will not be completed before September 10. Observers say repeated disputes and delays are threatening the orderly transfer of power and could have dangerous consequences. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel reports.
Video

Video Ukraine Battles Pro-Russia Rebel Assault

After NATO concluded an emergency meeting to discuss the crisis in eastern Ukraine, the country is struggling to contain heavy fighting near the strategic port of Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. Separatist rebels are trying to capture the city, allegedly with Russian military help, and Ukraine's defense forces are digging in. VOA's Daniel Schearf spoke with analysts about what lies ahead for Ukraine.
Video

Video Growing Business Offers Paint with a Twist of Wine

Two New Orleans area women started a small business seven years ago with one thing in mind: to help their neighbors relieve the stress of coping with a hurricane's aftermath. Today their business, which pairs painting and a little bit of wine, has become one of the fastest growing franchises across the U.S. VOA’s June Soh met the entrepreneurs at their newest franchise location in the Washington suburbs.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.

AppleAndroid