Parliament has said Government should institute an Inter-ministerial committee to comprehensively devise a lasting solution to the safety of Ugandans trading in South Sudan.
The Deputy Speaker, Anita Among said during a September 1, 2021 plenary sitting that the committee should be established promptly and the report on action taken should be tabled in Parliament in the next 21 days.
The State Minister for Regional Affairs, John Mulimba, in a statement on the situation of Ugandan traders and truck drivers in South Sudan confirmed killing of Ugandans and the destruction of their property along the Uganda-South Sudan route.
He said that the Government, upon receiving reports on the killings, had the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Henry Okello Oryem travel o Juba where he engaged with his South Sudan counterpart on the security and safety of Ugandans and their goods in that country.
Mulimba added that the Minister also engaged the South Sudan government on the possibility of compensation for the people killed, trucks destroyed and property lost.
Mulimba emphasized that the attacks happen in the territory of South Sudan where, the Government of South Sudan has sovereign authority, and that other nationals have also been victims.
He pointed out that the Ugandan security officers have advised all Ugandans not to proceed to South Sudan without security guarantees.
He said this advice had been communicated to all those crossing borders including those transiting through Busia, Malaba and Mutukula on the way to South Sudan.
The Kilak South MP, Gilbert Oulany said that Juba has been closed since Monday. He demanded to know the plans by Government to rescue the people stuck in South Sudan.
Kalungu West MP, Joseph Gonzaga Ssewungu demanded for practical solutions to the problems in South Sudan.
“Our people have permits to be in that country. Life cannot be compensated. We must save lives and not look at compensation after death. The Sudanese are enjoying life here,” Ssewungu said.
Bugweri County MP, Abdul Katuntu appealed to the government to issue travel advisories to warn Ugandans not to travel to South Sudan. He was equally concerned with the idea of compensating the affected individual and families instead of working towards preventing these acts.
The MP Sheema Municipality, Dickson Kateshumbwa proposed an inter-ministerial committee to handle the problem of South Sudan which was eventually adopted by Parliament.
“There are areas like compensation that need to be handled, South Sudan is a key trade partner and these issues need to be sorted,” said Kateshumbwa.
Aruu North MP, Santa Okot observed that the situation in South Sudan needs radical steps. He proposed for the closure of the border with South Sudan because these attacks have gone on for too long.
The MP Agago North, John Amos Okot told the house that corruption is among the major causes of what is happening to Ugandans trading in South Sudan. He observed that he had received complaints that some of the security personnel ask for money to escort the traders.
“The minister told us that we have very strong brotherly relations; that is a problem. That is why Kenyans, Ethiopians and other nationalities are not being killed,” said Patrick Nsamba (Kasanda North).
The Government Chief Whip, Thomas Tayebwa appealed to the Ugandans strictly observe the guidelines put in place by the government to trade with South Sudan.