Opinions

THE LEGALITY OF UPDF IN DRC

By Richard Byamukama Bard

While appearing on the Alternative Uganda Digitalk channel, a Makindye based television channel in the Mighty Drive talk show last week, i emphasized that the only way of having sustainable security for Uganda is by combating the ADF paramilitaries in their bases and hideouts in the DRC that have become a threat to Ugandan security with a series of bombs detonated by their agents who are within the country.

Section 39 of the UPDF Act provides for peace keeping Under subsection (a), then peace enforcement under subsection (b).

Under section 39 (b), 1&2, The UPDF seeks Parliamentary approval only when going for a peace keeping mission!!! It says nothing about peace enforcement mission!!!

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This implies that there no any single rule in the provisions of both the Constitution and the UPDF Act compelling the army to seek parliamentary guidance whenever going for a peace enforcement mission like it is doing in DRC.

The provisions quote Parliamentary approval of the UPDF while going for a State war Under under Article 124 of the Constitution, and another Parliamentary approval when going for a Peace keeping mission like it is for the case of Somolia or if the UPDF has to do it in any other country.

The UPDF army is not at a state war with any country, and neither in a peace keeping mission with DRC. The UPDF is conducting a Peace enforcement mission under Section 39 subsection (b) of the UPDF Act and this doesn’t mention anything like Parliamentary approval.

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The peace enforcement mission procedures are laid under section 40 and 41. It only requires an agreement called “The Status of Forces” agreement which has to be signed by the Minister of Defense of Uganda and the Minister of Defense of thehost country.

Such agreements are further provided for under Article 23 of the African Charter. All people shall have a right to national and international peace and security. Country’s territory shall not be a base favouring or harbouring subversive or terror activities against the people of another state party.

The Constitutional provisions under Article 124 are insufficient because it mentions about a state war, which in this case doesn’t exist. We are not at a state war with any country.

We should not be tolerant to terrorism and it’s agents as the indoctrination of terror doctrines may haunt us in the future. In Sokoto, Northern Nigeria, there were elements of Fundamentalism in the 17th Century with people like Uthman Danfodio, Al Hajji Umar which I believe those elements have breed through the generation to account for terrorism in Northern Nigeria today.

The author is a Lawyer Security Student

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