During the meeting, Bukanga South MP Stephen Kangwagye asked for the Ministry’s clarity on reports that Uganda’s troops under the African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom) had not been paid for two years.
Uganda Peoples Defence Forces troops
serving under the African Mission in Somalia have not received allowances for
the last 10 months.
The matter came up during a
meeting between a team from the Defence Committee of Parliament and the Ministry
of Defence and Veteran Affairs this afternoon. The team led by Jacob Oboth, the
Minister of State for Defence had appeared before the Committee to present their
budget estimates for the financial year 2022/2023.
During the meeting, Bukanga South
MP Stephen Kangwagye asked for the Ministry’s clarity on reports that Uganda’s
troops under the African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom) had not been paid
for two years.
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But in response, Edith Butuuro,
the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Defence dismissed the reports that the
troops had not been paid their allowances for two years. Instead, she says,
they are demanding payments from March 2021.
“The money we pay to our troops is allocated
to us by the African Union-AU and it follows certain understandings, legal
frameworks and budgetary frameworks. So we follow what these documents
provide,” Butuuro said. She added that for the months
before March 2021, the troops were paid allowances on top of their salaries
from the Government of Uganda that is not in arrears.
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Amisom is a regional peacekeeping
mission that is operated by the African Union-AU, with the approval of the United
Nations –UN Security Council.
Uganda was the first African
country to send its soldiers to Somalia, therefore spearheading the Amisom in
March 2007. These are fighting the al-Shabaab insurgents and protecting the
internationally-backed government in Mogadishu. The other countries in the
Amisom are Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti.
The European Union-EU pays
allowances for the Amisom peacekeeping troops through the African Peace
Facility and the United Nations –UN pays for logistics including transport,
food and reimburses troop-contributing countries for tear and wear of military hardware.
The EU money is released to the African Union which later channels the funds to
the troop-contributing countries to pay the soldiers.