By Stephen Twinoburyo
I hear a number of Ugandans, especially politicians, blaming the government for involving the UPDF in Somalia. World over, all countries that have involved their troops in peace-keeping activities outside their borders have had to deal with arguments at home. The merits and demerits of such involvement always vary, but there are surely arguments for both sides.
Ugandans have always asked the international community to get more involved in Ugandan political matters by putting pressure on the Museveni regime. This by implication means they are calling on other countries to commit their energies to the betterment of life in Uganda. Isn’t it therefore ironic that we find Uganda’s involvement in Somalia unwarranted? Somalia is a country that has had no government or stable government for over a decade. Don’t the children of Somalia also need to grow up in a normal environment? The African Union called on African countries to provide troops to help stabilize Somalia. Which country in one’s opinion should have sent troops? Or should Africa rather leave the people of Somalia to suffer until forces of nature provide a balance or until the Somalis have devoured themselves into oblivion?
I think we need to be fair in our criticism. I surely think the criticism of Uganda’s involvement in Somalia is not made genuinely out of concern for Ugandans. I also don’t think Ugandans would like to see Somalia continue in turmoil. Somalia deserves better and Uganda, as an African country, has a moral duty to help. All countries, including the US, that have been involved in peace-keeping missions also have demands at home for their citizen. But they find it necessary to help. Otherwise the US House of Representatives would find little use to send a monitoring team to Uganda’s upcoming elections, as they would rather use those resources on their own citizens.
South Africa, the country where I live, has been involved in various peace-keeping missions on the continent – Burundi, DRC, Siera Leon, Dafur e.t.c. Though there is still a long way to go in these regions, the people in these regions are certainly better off. Wouldn’t it be good if Africans got more involved in helping other Africans? Of course we have had undesirable cases, like Uganda’s atrocious and I think criminal involvement in DRC, but under the auspices of international bodies, we aught to help.
More importantly, Al-Shabab should never be given a justification to exist or propagate its dangerous ideologies.