NRM legislators are divided over the funding of Ugandan forces currently deployed in South Sudan, Red Pepper Online has learnt.
According to sources, the matter came up for discussions at the NRM caucus meeting which was held on Monday evening.
Some MPs claim that during the meeting, Crispus Kiyonga, the Defense minister was tasked to explain who would meet the expenses incurred by the UPDF in South Sudan.
The sources quote Kiyonga saying that the Ugandan government would foot the expenses of the UPDF. However, his disclosure didn’t go down well with some MPs who argued that the south Sudan government should cover the expense since it sought help from UPDF.
Last week, Jeje odong, the state minister for defense told the defense and internal affairs committee of parliament that the south Sudan government sought the intervention of UPDF. According to the sources, the MPs tasked Kiyonga what the cost implication should have been if UPDF had not intervened, but he reportedly said it would enormous.
The MPs also quote saying there is a possibility of the defense ministry presenting a supplementary budget before parliament. David Bahati, the Deputy Government chief whip told local media that it is not clear whether the ministry will table the supplementary budget but said government is currently relying on the available Defense budget.
He however, emphasized that while appearing before the caucus Kiyonga was not sure whether the available defense budget would be enough to cater for the deployment in South Sudan.
On the number of Ugandans killed in South Sudan, Bahati said the minister didn’t avail the caucus any information on the number of Ugandan causalities.
He however says Kiyoga told the Caucus that UPDF has been able to evacuate 3,000 Ugandans. The south sudan conflict, which has claimed more than 1000 people and displaced hundreds of several others started after soldiers loyal to Riek Machar, the former south Sudan vice president attempted to stage a coup.
It came after Salva Kiir, the South Sudan president kicked Machar and several other officials from the South Sudan People’s Liberation-SPLM.