Officials from the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs led by State Minister of Defence (General Duties), Hon Jacob Marksons Oboth have made a case for Shs89 billion to finance the ongoing Operation ‘Shujaa’ in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
‘Operation Shujaa’ is a code which refers to the ongoing Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) offensive against Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) militants in DRC.
Oboth Oboth said the Shs89.7 billion will fortify the ground, air and intelligence operations required to neutralise the outfit, which has for years operated sleeper cells in mainly the eastern part of DRC.
MP Theodore Ssekikubo (NRM, Lwemiyaga) was quick to accuse the ministry of going into DRC without Parliament authorisation, to which a remorseful Oboth Oboth said operational dictates required a surprise attack on the ADF bases.
“There was need to surprise, overwhelm and override the enemy; there is no way we can run away from Parliament, but on the issue of Operation Shujaa, we can take political responsibility for not coming to Parliament [because]there was a lot of planning and strategic issues that were taking place,” he said.
The ministry appeared before Parliament’s Committee on Defense and Internal Affairs.
Mukono North MP, Hon Abdallah Kiwanuka was not amused by Commander of Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s recent diplomatic activities, and political utterances on his Twitter handle, which he said is unbecoming of a serving military officer.
“[He has been making] dangerous utterances about Ethiopia, and how do you sanction that? I don’t see [Maj Gen Leopold] Kyanda doing that; this is dangerous for us,” he said.
He added, ’the other day, we saw him meeting President Uhuru Kenyatta, now he is meeting various presidents, we don’t see [Chief of Defence Forces] Gen Wilson Mbadi doing that,” he said.
The Joint Chief of Staff, Maj Gen Kyanda, however, said he has been conducting those affairs because he has the additional appointment of being Senior Presidential Advisor – Special Operations.
“He is a presidential advisor, which gives him additional roles; we also have person to person diplomacy; what we should be looking at is the bigger good,” he said.