Today, Gen. Kyanda and a team from the Ministry of Defence appeared before the Defence and Internal Affairs Committee of Parliament to defend the 89.6 billion Shillings budget request to finance the ongoing operation Shujja, alongside other budgetary requirements.
Uganda Peoples Defence Forces will
not leave the Democratic Republic of Congo until the Allied Democratic Forces-ADF
rebels they are pursuing are defeated or surrender, Maj. Gen Leopold Kyanda,
the Joint Chief of Staff has said.
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. Before the
operation in the eastern part of the DRC, the government had accused ADF rebels
of being behind strings of suicide bombings in Uganda.
Today, Gen. Kyanda and a team
from the Ministry of Defence appeared before the Defence and Internal Affairs
Committee of Parliament to defend the 89.6 billion Shillings budget request to
finance the ongoing operation Shujja, alongside other budgetary requirements. But during the meeting, a section of MPs
tasked the officials to explain how long they intended to stay in DRC.
Kyanda said that their stay in
Congo will depend on how the events unfold, prompting more questions from
Lwemiyaga County MP Theodore Ssekikubo who asked where the money funding the
operation currently is coming from.
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Ministry of Defence Under-Secretary Edith Butuuro told MPs that the UPDF entry in DR Congo was an emergency
and that they had to use the available stores to venture into the operation.
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Jacob Oboth, the Minister of
State for Defence said that the required 89.6 billion Shillings 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’
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He appealed for parliament’s
support saying that very soon, they would address the House on the army
deployment in Congo.
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The 89.6 billion Operation
Shujja budget is among the unfunded activities for the Ministry in the coming
financial year 2022/2023. Under the Budget Framework Paper,
the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs was allocated 3.35 trillion
Shillings, 1.07 trillion Shillings short of its current budget of 4.42 trillion Shillings.
Oboth said that the reduced
funding comes amidst increased operations and effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. He
says that the Ministry’s budget requirement for the coming financial year is
6.736 trillion Shillings and the current allocation under the budget framework
paper leaves a deficit of 3.38 billion Shillings.
Some of the activities that the
Ministry needs to fund include salary enhancement for UPDF personnel 493.2
billion (Shillings), food (76.2 billion Shillings), fuel (46.1 billion
Shillings), clothing (158 billion Shillings), construction of 12,000 units in
UPDF Barracks (1.52 trillion Shillings) Land acquisition (191 billion
Shillings), pension and gratuity (153.8 billion Shillings) Operation Shujja (89.7
billion Shillings) arrears (275.5 billion Shillings) and others.
The others are salaries for newly
commissioned officers, requiring 3.1 billion Shillings, salaries for integrated
Local Defence Personnel (69.9 billion Shillings), salary enhancement for
scientists (73.2 billion Shillings), veteran activities (35.6 billion
Shillings), and combat service support equipment (23.9 billion Shillings).
Butuuro appealed to the committee
to support the Ministry of Defence and ensure that these funding gaps are
allocated money because they are all critical.