Tayebwa, Nkunyingi face-off over deployment of UPDF in DRC

The argument followed an assurance by Tayebwa to the foreign affairs committee that no statement on UPDF deployment in DRC will be made to Parliament until President Yoweri Museveni has okayed it.

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Tayebwa, Nkunyingi face-off

Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa has faced off with the Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs, Muwada Nkunyingi over the deployment of Ugandan troops in the DRC.

The argument followed an assurance by Tayebwa to the foreign affairs committee that no statement on UPDF deployment in DRC will be made to Parliament until President Yoweri Museveni has okayed it.

“Until the President clearly informs our office that now you go and inform Parliament, for now, we have no deployment there; it could be an operation which can be by air or use of drones,” Tayebwa said.

Tayebwa further advised the Committee to mind about Uganda’s international image by not interrogating certain issues that are likely to cast the country in bad light.

Nkunyingi readily took him on and accused him of “wrongly guiding” the Committee.

“This committee is not any different from the other Committees of Parliament, we have nothing to shield when handling witnesses, and we have to thoroughly investigate any issues that are brought to the attention of the committee.

It is, therefore, wrong for [Tayebwa] to tell us that we have to be protective and not ask certain questions,” Nkunyingi said.

He added that the work of the committee is guided by the Rules of Procedure of Parliament which mandates the MPs to ask questions without any reservations provided they can yield useful answers on a matter being investigated.

He said that it is wrong for the Government Chief Whip to tell the Committee not to probe the deployment of Ugandan troops without the approval of Parliament.

Tayebwa who virtually addressed the meeting hit back telling the Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister not to take it that the DRC doesn’t have a Parliament.

“DRC also has a Parliament, it is not that Uganda’s Parliament is supreme; the President also has powers. There are processes that have to be followed, you can only come to Parliament when all processes are complete,” Tayebwa said.

However, in response, Nkunyingi said the deployment of Ugandan troops in the DRC is a matter of law. “you can’t deploy outside the country just the way you want, it must be processed legally and through proper channels as provided for in the law,” the Kyadondo East MP retorted.

He was backed up by the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mathias Mpuuga who said that much as his side agrees to efforts of securing Uganda’s borders, it must be done within the confines of the law.

“The question that has not been resolved is whether the President, Commander-in-Chief has locus to deploy without informing Parliament.

The law made two provisions; the President can deploy and inform Parliament after 21 days if Parliament was in recess,” he said.

He added that “Where is in session, the law says, Parliament must offer consent to the deployment because it has far reaching implications on the country’s resources and the long-term implications to our neighbourhood principles in relation to foreign relations”

Mpuuga argued that the government should have informed Parliament at the same time it was in talks with the DRc government.

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