The Minister for Defence Dr. Crispus Kiyonga has dispelled talk that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) in South Sudan is siding with the Government in power.
Hon. Kiyonga says that the army presence is under a clear agreement that was signed between the government of Uganda and that of south Sudan. He however, added that the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development has taken on the mediation process.
“IGAD has now taken over the mediation process and if we were one sided, we wouldn’t be working under the same arrangement. I need to inform you that we are not involved in the current fighting there,” Hon. Kiyonga added.
The Defence Minister was responding to Hon. Kaps Fungaroo (FDC, Obongi) and Hon. John Ken-Lukyamuzi(Rubaga South) who accused the UPDF of supporting the Government of South Sudan led by President Silvir Kiir against the rebels led by Riek Machar.
This was during a sitting of Parliament on Tuesday, 26th May 2015 presided over by Deputy Speaker Rt. Hon. Jacob Oulanyah. Parliament was considering the Budget for the Defence and Internal Affairs sector.
Hon. Kiyonga informed the House that the army is still involved in the peace process until the regional body puts in place an independent force to take over.
“We cannot leave South Sudan until the IGAD force has become a reality and taken over. For now we are playing a positive role and are trusted by both sides,” he added.
Presenting the report of the Committee of Defence and Internal Affairs, Kigulu South MP Hon. Milton Muwuma said that the cost of UPDF operation in South Sudan will reduce from shs25.1 billion to shs16.2 billion. This is attributed to the Government of South Sudan catering for the fuel component.