Written by Henry Sekanjako and Joyce Namutebi
MPs Katuntu (left) and Ssekikubo speaking to journalists at Parliament yesterday. Photo by Abu Mwesigwa newvision
A cross-section of MPs have called on President Yoweri Museveni to refrain from making statements that might worsen the conflict in Southern Sudan.
December 1st, 2014[Uganda] — This was in reference to the President’s warning of former South Sudanese vice-president Riek Machar to whom rebels fighting Salva Kiir’s government attribute their loyalty.
The President recently told Machar to agree to the recently agreed a cease–fire or face action by regional countries.
Museveni said IGAD had set yesterday as the deadline for fighting, to allow peace talks between the two to begin.
At their press conference at Parliament yesterday, the MPs led by Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga County) urged President Museveni to withdraw his statements, saying they were putting the lives of Ugandans in South Sudan at risk.
“This issue of President Museveni giving ultimatums to Machar is not good. This is a tribal fight and not a political matter that he should get involved in,” Ssekikubo said.
Busiro County MP Medard Ssegona said: “President Museveni has no right to threaten Machar that he will go for him. That is not his mandate. He should promote democracy instead of fighting it.”
Other MPs Wilfred Niwagaba, (Ndorwa West), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga) Gerald Karuhanga (Western Youth MP) Joseph Ssewungu (Kalungu East) Abdul Katuntu (Bugweri) and Medard Ssegona (Busiro East) also questioned the deployment of Uganda’s army in South Sudan without parliamentary approval.
“This is not a political problem that it should be solved militarily. It can only be solved through talks. It is a mistake that Uganda is intervening in all regional fights. The AU secretary general wanted us to be mediators not fighters,” said Katuntu.
The legislators suggested that Parliament be recalled from recess to discuss the deployment of Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) that are currently helping out with the evacuation of Ugandans trapped in South Sudan.
They contended that the deployment of UPDF in South Sudan without parliamentary approval was contrary to the Constitution.
Tinkasiimire said what is happening in South Sudan is a tribal war and asked how a president can takes sides in such a war.
He called on the President to concentrate on serving the people of Uganda who elected him. He claimed that for the last three years, Museveni has not delivered on his manifesto promises.
“We didn’t vote him to become a warmonger,” he said.
Karuhanga said Uganda should instead be discussing electoral reforms and how to stem the rising unemployment levels. More