The National Resistance Movement (NRM) Caucus in Parliament is sitting this afternoon to discuss the Deployment of Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) in South Sudan.
Uganda deployed its forces at the height of intense fighting that erupted in the South Sudan capital, Juba, in mid-December followung a political power struggle between President Salva Kiir and his ex-deputy Riek Machar. The squabble has however taken on an ethnic dimension as politicians’ political bases are often ethnic.
Over the past few weeks, there have been persistent rumors in Uganda that the government had deployed troops in South Sudan to support the government of President Salva Kiir. But UPDF spokesman Paddy Ankunda says it deployed troops to secure Ugandans from the increasingly volatile country.
The Deputy Government Chief Whip David Bahati says Defense Minister Dr. Crispus Kiyonga will provide an update to members on the UPDF deployment. Kiyonga will also respond to all concerns related to the UPDF operations in south Sudan.
This caucus meeting comes ahead of a special sitting of parliament due to take place tomorrow over the same.
The sitting was called by Speaker Rebecca Kadaga in response to a request by President Yoweri Museveni to recall Parliament in order to discuss and approve the deployment of UPDF in South Sudan.
Bahati says that the NRM party saw it prudent to have the brief for members to appreciate why the decision was taken. He adds that the briefing is also to make clarifications if there are any before the presentation is made in the House tomorrow.
Uganda has a long history of security cooperation with South Sudan, dating back to the long struggle for independence from Sudan.