Source: New Vision of Uganda
UPDF troops in Somalia
UGANDA Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) peace keepers in Somalia have appealed to government for a special arrangement where they are allowed to return home and enjoy conjugal rights with their spouses.
The peace keepers said they want to be permitted to return home every after six months to be with their spouses because nine months without being with them was a long time.
The request was made during discussions with members of the parliamentary committee on defence who visited them in Somalia.
A team of five members of the committee last week travelled to Somalia to visit the peace keepers, the first time since their deployment in 2007.
Currently Uganda has 7,200 out of the 8,000 peace keepers in Somalia under AMISOM. The rest are from Burundi.
The leader of the delegation, Milton Muwuma (NRM) said that the soldiers where excited by the committee’s visit. The MPs spent four days in Somalia. Other MPs were Simon Mulongo, Benny Bugembe and Margaret Makhoha all of (NRM) and Cyrus Amodoi (Independent). Present was state minister for defence, Jeje Odongo.
Muwuma said the soldiers also want the contributing countries to engage the UN and the African Union over those injured in the battlefield. They told MPs that those who are injured are given only 21 days to report for duty and if they do not do so in that time their services are terminated.
He said the soldiers said they were happy with what they earn and did not want to lose their jobs. Each soldier is paid about Sh2.4m including the top up from the government, he said.
They also called for review of the Defence Act on retirement. “They want a clear policy regulating retirement in the forces,” Muwuma said.
He added that the MPs discussed a lot with the peace keepers. He said they are well fed. He said the committee would write a report to Parliament on the visit.
By Joyce Namutebi