definition of regional imbalance
Kampala.Ministry of Defence officials and senior army officers were on Thursday put on the defensive over claims of regional imbalance in appointment of ministry officials.
Defence minister Adolf Kasaija Mwesige, who led the team, fended off criticism from mainly Opposition members of Parliament’s Defence and Internal Affairs Committee.
Shadow Internal Affairs minister Muhammad Kivumbi (DP, Butambala) sparked the debate when he told Mr Mwesige that the army appointments were “fairly absurd, skewed in favour of one region”.
The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) leadership has previously been criticised by the Opposition as being dominated by the officers from western Uganda, an allegation the army has dismissed.
Mr Kivumbi read out names of officials from the finance department of the Ministry of Defence, saying all but one “come from the same region.”
But Mr Mwesige said: “I don’t think it is proper for us to look at people through sectarian lenses, these are public servants most of whom are posted by the Ministry of Public Service.”
Lt Col Bright Rwamirama, the State minister for Veteran Affairs, said Mr Kivumbi’s statements were incorrect since the region [western Uganda] has a less representation in the ministry.
“It is not fair to read names selectively…even the region they are saying to be a majority is a minority, ” the visibly irritated minister retorted.
In support of Mr Kivumbi, Obongi County MP Hassan Fungaroo Kaps reinforced Mr Kivumbi’s allegations, warning committee chairperson Judith Nabakooba (NRM, Mityana) against “protecting sectarianism.”
Ms Nabakooba had warned the MPs against “going personal and promoting sectarianism.”
The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, said the leadership is sensitive to regional balance.
Opposition MPs also wondered why the Opposition FDC president, Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, is not invited for UPDF top organ meetings yet he is listed among the members of the UPDF High Command under the UPDF Act.
In response, Gen Muhoozi later told Saturday Monitor that nobody has stopped Gen Muntu from attending the army council meetings.
Commenting about the UPDF withdrawal from the Central African Republic where they have been hunting Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Gen Muhoozi said the UPDF has managed to “degrade” the LRA, saying the success of the mission against the LRA should not be judged basing on Kony being alive.
“It is true of all the senior leaders, only Kony is still alive but I think it won’t be fair to judge the success of the mission by Kony being alive. LRA is no longer an immediate threat to Uganda, ” he said.