By Moses Walubiri
Legislators of the regional parliament, East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) will on Monday next week discuss the raging conflict in South Sudan, in what appears to be an attempt to pour olive oil on the choppy waters of Africa’s youngest nation.
The MPs intend to use the workshop on the EAC peace and Security Protocol to handle a host of issues pertaining to the conflict, given South Sudan’s application to join the budding regional bloc.
The need for the regional parliament to discuss the conflict was raised by Abubakar Ogle (Kenya), with Uganda’s Fred Mukasa Mbidde supporting the idea given “South Sudan’s observer status in EAC.”
“We need to scrutinize the participation of a member of the EAC (Uganda) in this conflict in whatever arrangement because this kind of conflict merits a regional response,” Mbidde, supported by committee chairperson, Abubakar Zein Abubakar (Kenyan), said during a meeting of the Regional Affairs and Conflict Resolution Committee on Wednesday.
Early this week, EALA Speaker, Margaret Zziwa, appealed to the warring factions in the conflict that has, according to the United Nations, claimed over 1000 lives to explore means of ‘silencing guns’ to forestall another humanitarian crisis in the region.
The Ugandan parliament recently approved the formal deployment of UPDF for combat operations against the Riek Machar led rebel forces following an earlier deployment of an elite commando unit to secure the nascent country’s key installations, like Juba Airport.
Having endured over two decades of a grisly civil war pitting Khartoum forces against the John Garang led South Sudan Liberation Army, South Sudan has savored little respite following its independence three years ago, as tensions between the top echelons of its fledgling government threaten to plunge it into yet another vicious conflagration.