By Moses Walubiri
Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga has sanctioned a special session of parliament on Tuesday next week to approve UPDF deployment in war torn South Sudan in line with Article 210 of the constitution and section 39 of the UPDF Act.
Although Uganda has already deployed a small elite unit to secure South Sudan’s key installations, including Juba airport, on the request of S. Sudan president Salva Kir, the president is required to secure parliamentary approval for a full blown deployment of the country’s army in a foreign country.
According to a communication by Clerk to Parliament, Jane Kibirige, to all legislators, the session will begin at 10am.
“Notice is hereby given that there will be a special sitting of parliament on Tuesday 14 January, 2014, convening in accordance with Article 210 of the constitution and section 39 of the UPDF Act, 2005,” the notice dated 9 January reads.
The development comes 16 days after Museveni wrote to Kadaga requesting her to convene the session to approve UPDF deployment to defend what he labeled greater regional security interests.
“Given the importance of South Sudan for the peace in Northern Uganda, DRC, and CAR, Uganda cannot and should not stand aloof and watch the situation deteriorate ,” Museveni noted in his 24 December letter, adding: “I am therefore, writing to you to request you to call parliament to approve my actions as provided for by the UPDF Act. The mission for deployment is for peacekeeping but, if necessary, for peace enforcement.”
Africa’s youngest country has savored little reprieve from the protracted grisly conflict that culminated into its independence two years ago, recently getting plunged into the current crisis pitting forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar against government troops.
It seems as regional efforts to pour olive oil on South Sudan’s choppy waters gathers pace, Uganda is keeping all options on the table despite Machar’s clamor for it (Uganda) to withdraw its troops from South Sudan.