Museveni defends UPDF Operation in DRC

ADF operation

UPDF Soldiers (Photo by Sébastien KITSA MUSAYI / AFP)

President Yoweri Museveni has defended the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) presence in the Democratic Republic of Cong ( DRC).

The UPDF launched air and artillery raids against the ADF key bases in the Eastern DRC with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(FARDC) in November 2021.

The operation, code-named, “operation Shujja” is being commanded by Maj Gen Kayanja Muhanga and, according to the ministry of Defence, It will mainly focus on weakening identified enemy camps in Yayuwa, Tondoli, Beni One and Beni Two.

Before the operation, the government had accused ADF rebels of being behind strings of suicide bombings in Uganda.

Two of them were in the heart of Kampala, hitting the Central Police Station and Parliament avenue, a green zone that has a collection of government offices.

“I am glad that our brothers from DRC are here. We are working together to stop that little problem of ADF… The LRA, Kony were here, we defeated them. So our brothers and sisters in Congo, they once in a while come and plant bombs here and kill some sheikhs,” Museveni said, during the celebrations to mark the 36th National Resistance Movement (NRM) Liberation day at Kololo Independence Grounds on Wednesday.

He commended his counterpart, Félix Antoine Tshisekedi of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC ) for allowing the Uganda People’s Defence Forces to work with the Armed Forces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo(FARDC ) to finish what he described as a little problem.

According to Museveni, the air and artillery raids against ADF were the first phase of the war.

He invited African leaders to discuss and exchange views on how to build strength in Africa.

Museveni said that Uganda can share the experience it has with others in order to avoid the current happenings from taking the continent back.

According to Museveni, Uganda has built some strength citing the 6,000 UPDF soldiers in Somalia in pursuit of Al-Shabab and noted that he is to get in touch with West African leaders so that they harmonize their thinking.

These statements by Museveni come at a time when Parliament’s Budget Committee is contesting the shs 89.6 billion request by the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs to finance the ongoing operation by UPDF in DRC.

Legislators said that they cannot approve the funds for an operation whose details they are not privy to.

Jacob Oboth, the Minister of State for Defence also said that the required shs 89.6 billion will cover the cost of logistics, communication and welfare requirements for the operation, among others.

He said that the budget is for only the anticipated 12 months’ operation.

“Going to Congo, most people think we went under section 39 of the Constitution…that is not true, we went under Section 40 which does not require parliamentary approval, but we have to give parliament information and the delay is regrettable,” Oboth said.

He however maintains that they had good reasons for the good of Ugandans.

Meanwhile, President Yoweri Museveni re-emphasized to dignitaries at the Liberation Day celebration the need for Ugandans to engage in four sectors to achieve wealth and middle-income status.

The named sectors are Agriculture, Industry, Services and ICT.

Museveni said he wants Uganda to be a high middle-income economy and not just a low-level middle income that is going to be achieved in one or two years.

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