Preach peace to the Sudans, lawmakers tell government

Friday May 11 2012

By Mercy Nalugo

Lawmakers yesterday cautioned government against taking unilateral action in the ongoing conflict between South Sudan and Sudan, warning that this might threaten the country’s security interests.

The MPs instead urged government to pursue Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) in Eastern Africa and UN resolutions restraining the countries from going to all-out war.

Restraint needed
MP Jack Wamai Wamanga (Mbale Municipality), said Uganda is one of the guarantors of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) signed between the two countries and must ensure that it is fully implemented.

“Uganda being a member of the UN and OAU should not singly come out to appear as if it is the only one that is concerned about the matter. It should work with other organisations and be cautious in terms of moving as a country alone,” he said.

The dispute, which threatened to escalate into full scale war, has displaced thousands of civilians mainly on the South Sudan side.

The ongoing conflict in the two states has prompted the UN Security Council to pass a resolution urging the two states to cease hostilities failure of which would attract penalties.

The US government has also urged the two countries to pursue dialogue than war.

Seeking favour
Delegates from the two countries last week dashed to Kampala, and advanced the positions of their respective governments, in a move seen as an attempt to win diplomatic favour from Uganda.

MP Betty Amongi (Oyam South) last week demanded that the government brings to Parliament a statement reflecting its official position on the conflict.

MPs also warned UPDF Generals and government officials to refrain from making statements that can incite violence between the Sudans.

Responding to the government statement presented by the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr Okello Oryem, Ms Amongi yesterday said the conflict between Sudan and South Sudan matter was very sensitive and needed to be dealt with within the framework of IGAD, AU and UN.

“We should restrain all the government officials and UPDF Generals from taking this matter to the press as it can fuel war,” Ms Amongi observed.

Mr Oryem in his statement to the House re-affirmed the government’s commitment to ensure peaceful resolution of conflict between the two countries.

“The continued insecurity in Sudan and South Sudan could directly threaten Uganda’s national security,” Mr Oryem noted.

he said the persistent violence between Sudan and South Sudan has already led to an influx of South Sudanese refugees into Uganda.

MP Betty Aol Ocan (Gulu District) asked government to pursue dialogue and avoid sounding war drums. “We recognise the fact that South Sudan helped us to realise peace in northern Uganda but we should come up with peaceful dialogue to prevent war,” Ms Aol added.

Mr Oryem said the government shall support the African Union and UN resolution and act within IGAD framework in her capacity as the guarantor of the CPA.

The conflict between the Sudans, has since the independence of the South in July last year, been escalating over oil and border conflicts.