News / Africa

Uganda Ready to Host African Union Summit

Peter Clottey

A cabinet minister in President Yoweri Museveni’s government said Uganda is adequately prepared to host the African Union summit scheduled to begin Monday in the capital, Kampala.

Hope Mwesigye, Minister for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, told VOA Uganda will host a successful summit saying the government is unwavering, despite the recent al-Shabab-inspired twin suicide bombings that killed more than 70 people.

“The theme is maternal and child health. And, of course, as you realize, that theme is intertwined with food security and nutrition security. So, as the Ministry of Agriculture, we will be playing a key role, especially in the side events which we will be addressing food and nutrition. We will be having seminars and papers will be presented by (a) specialized nutritionist,” she said.

The theme for the 15th ordinary session of the assembly of African heads of state is, “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development in Africa.”

Many African heads of state and government are scheduled to participate in the summit that is also expected to focus on peace and security, infrastructure, energy, agriculture and food security.

Last week, the Somali hard-line Islamic insurgent group al-Shabab claimed responsibility for the two suicide bombings that killed at least 76 people in Kampala.

The insurgents further warned of more attacks if Ugandan soldiers continue to serve as peacekeepers helping the internationally-backed Somali administration against the insurgents.

Currently, both Uganda and Burundi contribute about 5,500 peacekeeping troops under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), helping President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed’s Transitional Federal Government to stabilize the country.

Described as a terrorist organization with strong ties to al-Qaida, al-Shabab has refused to recognize the Somali administration and has vowed to overthrow the government to implement the strictest form of the Sharia Law.

Some observers have expressed concern saying the African Union summit could be another viable target for the Somali insurgents.

But, minister Mwesigye condemned the twin bombings and re-assured the African delegates scheduled to attend the summit of their safety.

“The recent bombings have been extremely unfortunate and we condemn it. But, my country had already put in place extra measures like, in security, we have improved greatly since the attacks. I like to assure everyone that security is under control. We’ve done all that we can, we’ve had support also from our partners and we believe that Kampala and Uganda will be safe,” Mwesigye said.

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