Sunday, September 23, 2007

Uganda: Museveni calls for one African army

President Yoweri Museveni has criticised his African peers for relying on foreign military forces to maintain peace and security on the continent.

Here is the full story by TABU F. BUTAGIRA & RONALD BATRE, September 24, 2007, from KAMPALA/ARUA via
Gen. Museveni said Africa needs to immediately build one strong army that would intervene swiftly to restore calm in any beleaguered state and end unnecessary western benefaction. "Should Africa continue to seek defence patronage from abroad?" Mr Museveni asked on Friday, adding: "In whose interest is this patronage?"

Presently, over 13, 000 UN troops under the United Nations Mission in Congo are struggling to restore calm in the restive eastern DRC where renegade rebel chief Gen. Laurent Nkunda is fighting the Kinshasa government of Joseph Kabila.

On August 1, the UN approved the deployment of 26, 000 military and police personnel to Sudan's volatile Darfur region where an estimated 200, 000 people have died and another 2 million displaced since a conflict erupted in the oil-rich western province in 2003.

The home-grown African Union troops deployed there earlier are over stretched and have under performed mainly due to logistical bottlenecks and lack of money.

"While we may get help from bodies like the United Nations, it is imperative that we take initiative in promoting peace and preventing conflict," Mr Museveni said in a speech read for him by State Finance Minister (general duties), Jachan Omach at International UN Peace Day national celebrations in Arua on Friday.

"We need to build a credible military force that can guarantee the future of the African race". The President said many of the wars ravaging African Countries have continued to escalate and claim more lives due to delayed response arising from over reliance on foreign armed forces.

He said conflict resolution must be given a new priority on Africa's development agenda if harmony is to prevail within and between the continent's 53 nations. "Africa must strive to be ideologically independent if we are to secure and maintain peace and stability across (national) borders. We must share the same vision for our continent," Mr Museveni who had initially disagreed on fast tracking formation of a single African government, said.

"Conflicts have devastated the African continent, causing loss of millions of lives, human rights have been abused and entire populations forced to abandon dwellings and take on refugee status," he said.

"It is not only appalling but also abhorrent that the perpetrators of such acts normally attack defenseless civilians, children and women in order to advance their causes". The International Peace Day was celebrated under the theme: Promoting Cross-border Peace and Stability; Our Commitment, Struggle In Our Development and Progress.

Uganda: UN to help flush out LRA terrorists

Sept 16, 2007 - New Vision report from Kampala by Alfred Wasike [hat tip Enough]
THE UN mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, MONUC, is ready to back the Congolese army to flush out the LRA and other armed groups from eastern Congo to ensure security in the Great Lakes region.

"We are very concerned about the presence of the LRA and other armed groups in the DRC. Now we have the mandate to use force. We are deploying together with the DRC army to make sure that the LRA or other armed groups don't make the DRC their safe haven," said William Lacy Swing, the head of MONUC.

Swing has been in Kampala for the meeting of the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission, which was attended by ministers of defence and foreign affairs, as well as security chiefs, from Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC.

The four Great Lakes countries are discussing ways to deal with the armed groups based in eastern Congo which are threatening the security of the region. Uganda's delegation included ministers Sam Kutesa and Dr. Crispus Kiyonga, external security chief Dr. Robert Masolo and his colleague from internal security, Dr. Amos Mukumbi.

Swing, also the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Congo, told journalists yesterday at Speke Resort Munyonyo that MONUC planned to increase its presence in the area where the LRA is.

"We have moved about 90% of our forces to the eastern DRC. They (LRA) must go back and finalise the peace talks in Juba. We want to ensure that the peace talks succeed."

He said the other armed groups in the DRC included ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), PRA (People's Redemption Army), FDLR (Democratic Liberation Forces of Rwanda), FNL (National Forces of Liberation) as well as the forces of Laurent Nkunda.

Swing regretted that, although 15,000 members of armed groups had been demobilised, fresh fighting in the east had led to the displacement of over 600,000 people.

"The Tripartite Plus countries must ensure that they come up with effective strategies to accelerate disarmament of the armed groups. This is the surest way for us to eliminate the negative forces," he pointed out.

Uganda: No more military coups — Kutesa

September 22, 2007 report by Felix Osike, Sunday Vision, Uganda:
MILITARY coups will no longer be tolerated in African countries, foreign affairs minister Sam Kutesa has said. Uganda has had three military coups since independence in 1962.

The minister was on Friday delivering a paper titled “Africa’s Global Relevance and Uganda’s growing Role” at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House in London.

“There is a resolve to have and support democratically elected governments in the African Union. No longer will coups d’etat and military dictatorships be tolerated by the African Union,” Kutesa remarked.

Uganda has a history of coups and military dictatorships. The first coup was in 1971 when the army toppled a civilian government led by Milton Obote and installed its commander, Gen. Idi Amin as president. The second coup took place in 1980 when the Military Commission removed Godfrey Binaisa. And the third had coup-prone Obote overthrown a second time in 1985.

Kutesa stated that although Africa was faced with surmountable problems, wars were ending: “While two decades ago, you had many military dictatorships in many African countries. We now have stability.”

“Some of these struggles, therefore, like the ones we had in Uganda to get rid of Amin and LRA terrorists, could not be avoided. They have helped us attain the stability that we are now enjoying,” he added.

The foreign affairs minister, however, observed there was still a problem in Darfur, Sudan which will be sorted out with the involvement of the international community.

“We are also helping the leadership in Somalia to stabilise that country. The problem of Burundi is being resolved. An elected government is in place,” he said citing examples of change, “There is no more war in Angola, Mozambique, Southern Sudan, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the large part of Congo. South Africa was liberated in the early 90s and is a functioning democracy.”

He urged the international community to support the agreements Uganda signed with the Democratic Republic of Congo in Arusha, Tanzania on dealing with the negative forces in the DRC, joint oil exploration on Lake Albert and resolving the border conflict.

“We are negotiating with the Lord’s Resistance Army in Juba, Southern Sudan. We hope a comprehensive peace agreement will be signed in the near future. The stability created in Africa will promote democracy and observance of human rights.”

Kutesa argued that democracy was a process and not an event. “The process in Africa is on, and it is irreversible. The mistake some people in the West make is to judge the decades-old democracy in Africa against that of the West, which is Centuries old.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

"A state of emergency has been declared in Uganda" - UNICEF

Email just received from UNICEF:
Dear Miss Ingrid Jones,

Children in urgent need of help as flooding
sweeps across Africa

The worst flooding in decades is devastating countries across Africa and affecting more than 1.5 million people.

The early arrival of the rainy season has displaced more than 500,000 people, destroyed livestock and crops and put millions of children at risk of deadly waterborne diseases.

17 countries affected across Africa

- In Sudan an estimated 3.5 million people are at risk of deadly waterborne diseases and flooding has destroyed or damaged 191 schools. UNICEF is currently working to get 44,000 affected children back to school.

- A state of emergency has been declared in Uganda where UNICEF has already begun distributing water kits and basic household equipment.

- In Ghana flooding has destroyed livestock and farmlands. UNICEF is supplying water kits, shelter and mosquito nets across the north and east of the country.

Children are the most vulnerable

In every disaster children are the most vulnerable and often the worst affected. UNICEF urgently needs to reach children in 17 African countries to provide clean water, shelter and a safe environment to ensure that lives are not lost to outbreaks of disease caused by the flooding.

A gift of £50 will protect children from the risk of deadly disease

A gift of £50 from you would allow UNICEF to provide ten families with basic water kits. By providing these families with water containers, purification tablets, soap, buckets and basic hygiene supplies you will protect at least 30 children from the deadly risk of waterborne diseases.

Please help us protect children affected by these devastating floods by making a donation today using our secure online donation facility.

With sincerest thanks on behalf of all the children who will benefit from your donation.

Yours sincerely,
David Bull

Executive Director

PS: Please forward this on to a friend if you think they would also be interested in making a donation and supporting our appeal.

The cost quoted for the water kits is an estimate and is subject to where they are sourced and the quantity available.

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