The Uganda People’s Defence Forces – UPDF troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia have not received allowances for the last 10 months.
The matter came up during a meeting between a team from the Defence Committee of Parliament and the Ministry of Defence and Veteran Affairs. The team led by Jacob Oboth, the Minister of State for Defence had appeared before the committee to present their budget estimates for the financial year 2022/2023.
During the meeting, Bukanga South MP Stephen Kangwagye asked for the ministry’s clarity on reports that Uganda’s troops under the African Union Mission for Somalia (Amisom) had not been paid for two years.
But in response, Edith Butuuro, the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Defence dismissed the reports that the troops had not been paid their allowances for two years. Instead she said, they are demanding payments from March 2021.
“The money we pay to our troops is allocated to us by the African Union-AU and it follows certain understandings, legal frameworks and budgetary frameworks. So we follow what these documents provide,” Butuuro said. She added that for the months before March 2021, the troops were paid allowances on top of their salaries from the Government of Uganda that is not in arrears.
Amisom is a regional peacekeeping mission that is operated by the African Union-AU, with the approval of the United Nations-UN Security Council.
Uganda was the first African country to send its soldiers to Somalia, therefore spearheading Amisom in March 2007. These are fighting the al-Shabaab insurgents and protecting the internationally-backed government in Mogadishu. The other countries in the Amisom are Kenya, Ethiopia, Burundi and Djibouti.
The European Union-EU pays allowances for the Amisom peacekeeping troops through the African Peace Facility and the United Nations-UN pays for logistics including transport, food and reimburses troop-contributing countries for tear and wear of military hardware. The EU money is released to the African Union which later channels the funds to the troop-contributing countries to pay the soldiers.