Mogadishu, Somalia | THE INDEPENDENT | Ugandan Members of Parliament have started a week-long working visit to Somalia to assess the welfare of the country’s troops serving under the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).
According to a statement by AMISOM, the legislators will visit the Forward Operating Bases and interact with Ugandan soldiers and commanders serving in Somalia. They will also meet local Somali leaders in areas located within the AMISOM Ugandan contingent’s area of responsibility.
The delegation is led by the State Minister of Defence, Col. Charles Engola Okello, and the Chairperson of the Parliamentary Committee on Defence and Internal Affairs, Doreen Amule. Other members of the visiting parliament committee include Moses Nagwomu Musamba, Margaret Lamwaka, Richard Oseku, Donozio Kahonda, Brig. Felix Kulayigye, and Lucy Aciro.
Being the first country to deploy troops to Somalia in 2007, Uganda is a significant contributor of troops under AMISOM, alongside Burundi, Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. Uganda is also a police-contributing country.
The legislators will also meet and hold discussions with the President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed and the Speaker of the Lower House of the Federal Parliament.
On Saturday, the delegation met with the senior leadership team of AMISOM led by the Deputy Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union Commission (DSRCC) for Somalia, Simon Mulongo, and the AMISOM Force Commander, Lt. Gen. Tigabu Yilma Wondimhunegn.
At the meeting, they were briefed on the status of implementing AMISOM mission’s mandate to defeat terrorists in Somalia, achievements, progress, and challenges in implementing the Somalia Transition Plan.
Minister Engola hailed AMISOM for contributing to conflict resolution in Somalia. He also explained that their visit is in fulfilment of the mandate to provide oversight over the army, police, and prisons.
“We want to thank you for the changes that you have made in this country. We are grateful to the troops. I know that Somalia can now move with the rest of Africa because of the changes that we have seen,” said Col. Engola.
The Deputy Head of AMISOM, Simon Mulongo, explained, “We evaluated progress made and considered recorded achievements, while taking into account that there is still work to be done.”
Mulongo said, “As Parliament, they are now in a better position to appreciate the challenges of the mission, and will engage diplomatically, politically and through the executive, to reinforce support to AMISOM through the contingent.”