The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among has directed the Prime Minister to constitute an inter-ministerial committee to find a lasting solution to the insecurity faced by Ugandans in South Sudan.
Among made the directive following a debate on a statement by Hon. John Mulimba, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs (Regional Affairs). The statement highlighted government’s actions in addressing the situation which has seen Uganda traders and truck drivers attacked and killed along the Juba-Nimule road.
“The inter-ministerial committee should comprise of the ministries of foreign affairs, trade and security so that they look into the issues of Ugandans in South Sudan. A report on the actions taken should be submitted to the house in 21 days,” Among said.
Mulumba said that the traders needed to follow guidelines laid out by the security.
“Ugandan security officers have advised all Ugandan traders not to proceed to South Sudan without security guarantees. This advice has been communicated to all border points including those traders transiting through Busia Malaba and Mutukula on the way to South Sudan,” Mulumba said.
He added that the traders are not attacked while in Uganda but after they have crossed into South Sudan. He said their security should be the responsibility of the Government of South Sudan.
“We condemn these attacks. We took steps and the Minister of State for International Affairs, Hon. Okello Oryem, travelled to Juba where he engaged with his South Sudan counterpart on the security and safety of Ugandans and their goods in that country,” he added.
Hon. Alex Ruhunda (NRM, Fort Portal Central Division) said that the minister did not show any remorse for Ugandans that had lost their properties but was sympathizing with South Sudan.
“From the minister’s tone, there is no commitment in protecting the Ugandans and he doesn’t seem to have any remorse. Every country takes the responsibility to protect their citizens, world over. Even when they detect danger, they alert the citizens not to go to certain destinations so as to protect their lives,” said Ruhunda.
He added that there is need to have important information for trade given that Uganda’s adventurous culture is being frustrated and interests not being covered, compared to investors in the country.
“The leaders should move with us as we build a sustainable economy,” Ruhunda said.
Agago North MP, Hon. John Amos Okot said that some security personnel were asking for money to escort the traders.
“Information I have received is that some security officers solicit money from the traders. Those not in position to pay move on their own. What kind of facilitating has been put in place?” he asked.
Hon. Santa Okot (PPP, Aruu North County) disagreed with the Minister who mentioned that the killers were not South Sudanese.
“Who are those people killing the innocent Ugandans? My take is that radical situations need radical steps. For the time being, let Uganda close the border with South Sudan because these attacks on our people have been going on for too long,” Santa Okot said.
Kassanda North MP, Hon Patrick Nsamba noted that Ugandans are being killed because they took sides in the politics of South Sudan.
“The minister told us that we have very strong brotherly relations; that is a problem. That is why Kenyans, Ethiopians and other nationalities are not being killed, because they never took sides,” he said.
Hon Joseph Ssewungu (NUP, Kalungu West) said that the solutions for the issues in south Sudan need to be practical.
“Our people have permits to be in that country. It is not the first time this is happening but we need practical solutions because when someone has died a paper is brought for compensation but life cannot be compensated,” Ssewungu said.
Sheema Municipality MP, Hon Dicksons Kateshumbwa called for an inter-ministerial committee to handle the South Sudan problem.
“There are areas like compensation that need to be handled; is there a policy for compensation? Government needs to consider this. South Sudan is a key trade partner and these issues need to be sorted,” he said.
Kilak South MP, Hon Gilbert Olanya said that government needs to find solutions for the Ugandans stuck in Juba which is now closed.
“What plans does government have to rescue our people stuck in South Sudan. Those people kill with impunity. We need to have an urgent solution to rescue the people stuck in South Sudan,” he asked.
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