I am not fond of discussing politics or military issues but for once I must say that I am in full support of our Government’s intervention in South Sudan. Following the sudden turn of events which seems to have taken the world by surprise save for those of us who have known people that live and trade there, President Yoweri Museveni decided to send troops from the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) to intervene.
Reasons being advanced vary and most are accusatory considering that the opposition politicians are making the loudest noise. I for one do believe that this intervention is necessary and timely at that. Why?
I. Loss of Lives; Judging by the deeply entrenched tribal differences that the two leading entities in South Sudan have exhibited i.e the Nuer and Dinka, there is a very high possibility of ethnic cleansing taking place in that country if war is allowed to proceed unabated. Once beaten, twice shy. In Rwanda, the same happened in the 90s and it was a big lesson for us Ugandans. It was therefore very wise of our president to initiate such a timely intervention to avoid another potential genocide as well as save Africa from having another scar that would give the world a reason to further their doubt in this continent.
II. Business Protection: For those familiar with Eastern Africa, it is an open secret that South Sudan has been the new market place for all people involved in any form of business. From the white-collar businesses like Financial services and Telecoms to blue collar ones like food vending, auto garages, transport among others. It is believed that there are over 30,000 Ugandans actively living and trading in South Sudan and they contribute a lot towards the earnings of our country. China is being touted as the biggest investor in that country but in my view it depends on what perspective you use to determine ‘Big’. In absolute human impact, I would rate Uganda as being the biggest investor in that country. Uganda earned US$ 1.2 Billion in exports to South Sudan in 2012 and this figure was certainly superseded in 2013. So, once again, the president was right to move in and ensure that we don’t lose it all in South Sudan.
III. Evacuation of Ugandans: With all the Ugandans that are based in South Sudan, it is only prudent that we do what it takes to save the lives of these fellow citizens. We cant abandon them during their time of need. Today I feel very proud when I see what my Government has done to help these Ugandans on foreign soil. While there might be criticisms on how it was achieved, I believe the end justifies the means. You cant spend time romancing with parliamentarians who are trying to out compete each other in attracting media attention when your citizens are being slayed left, right and center.
IV. Impact on Agriculture: Uganda is the breadbasket of South Sudan. A good amount of the food supplied in their towns originates from farmlands in Uganda and this as a result led to price hikes in local foods. For once our farmers have been having the last laugh after getting decent offers for their produce thereby encouraging even the elite to join the farming bandwagon. Any instability in South Sudan is likely to grossly impact the prices of the produce from these farms thereby discouraging continued investment in this sector.
V. Status-Quo: Better the devil you know than the one you don’t know. Uganda paid a heavy price by supporting the SPLA and eventually when South Sudan did achieve independence, we shared in the joy. While South Sudan is a sovereign state, anything that transpires there is our concern because it has implications on the stability of our very nation. We all know how the dreaded Kony and his LRA tormented us for years while conveniently using bases across the border in the then Sudan.
With those five reasons, I believe that our Government did the right thing to move swiftly and I am proud to be a Ugandan at this rate. As for the Parliament, please cut the executive some slack and join them in this worthy cause. Is it bad playing big brother in the region? I don’t think so.
@wirejames on twitter