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UN assignment major challenge ­â€" Rugunda

By Vision Reporter

Added 18th January 2009 03:00 AM

OUTGOING internal affairs minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said his deployment as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Security Council is a great challenge, but added he was ready for the task.

OUTGOING internal affairs minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said his deployment as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Security Council is a great challenge, but added he was ready for the task.

By Milton Olupot

OUTGOING internal affairs minister Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda has said his deployment as Permanent Representative to the United Nations Security Council is a great challenge, but added he was ready for the task.

Uganda was elected by the UN General Assembly on October 17, as a non-permanent member of the 15-member council for a two-year term, representing eastern and southern Africa. Rugunda takes office on January 24.

Speaking at a farewell party organised for him by friends at Speke Resort Munyonyo on Saturday, Rugunda fondly referred to as Ndugu, a Swahili word for brother, said the appointment was in recognition of the developments Uganda had achieved under the NRM Government.

“This gives us a unique opportunity and privilege to speak for the interests of the African people in the UN Security Council. It is a deployment which is a great challenge but with your cooperation we shall manage,” said Rugunda, flanked by his wife, Joseline. About 500 guests attended. The five districts of the Acholi region sent a 50-man delegation.

Simon Nokrach, who spoke on behalf of the delegation, thanked Rugunda for his efforts as the leader of the Government peace team to the Juba talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.

Uganda People’s Congress party president Mama Miria Obote said “I pay special tribute to Dr. Rugunda. When he was a student in Mwiri, we invited a group of students to spend a holiday with us in State Lodge Entebbe and he was one of them.

“Rugunda is accommodative. Some people were with us and when they left, they don’t want to talk to us because we are from a different party, but Dr. Rugunda has always been there for us.”

Rugunda is said to have been instrumental in negotiations with the Government to allow former President Milton Obote to return from exile.

Although Obote passed away before the mission was successful, Rugunda completed it by heading the committee that saw his body return and buried respectfully.

Foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa said Ruganda’s new job was momentous now that the Security Council is undergoing reforms.

Security minister Amama Mbabazi rapped those who said Rugunda’s posting was a demotion,
“Rugunda retains his Cabinet seat. He is an ambassador who is a cabinet minister.”

Amama amused the guests when he disagreed with previous speakers over Rugunda’s attributes.

“When you say Rugunda is gentle, a diplomat, patient, this is news to me. The Rugunda I know is a radicle, absolutely revolutionary and cannot tolerate wrong doing."

Eriya Kategaya, the First Deputy Prime Minister, said the testimonies given by the speakers were evidence of Rugunda’s rational approach to issues.
The UN Security Council is mandated to maintain international peace and security.

UN assignment major challenge ­– Rugunda

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