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Committee Questions UPDF on UGX 89B for DRC Operation

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.
Officials from the Ministry of Defence appearing before Parliament's committee on Defence and Veteran Affairs.

Audio 5

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.  

//Cue in; “there was a… 

Cue out…other budget items.”// 

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. 

//Cue in; “this was an…  

Cue out…managing this operation.”//  

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’ operation. 

//Cue in; “twelve months of… 

Cue out…support of everyone.”// 

Luganda //Cue in; “ssente 89 billion… 

Cue out…report nnungi.”// 

He appealed for parliament’s support saying that very soon, they would address the House on the army deployment in Congo. 

//Cue in; “the reason we…  

Cue out…to support us.”// 

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. 

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