By Jumah Nsubuga
Parliamentary committee of defence and internal affairs chaired by Mubende district woman MP Benny Namugwanya has recommended that, government should enforce the law to attract Army deserters back in UPDF.
While presenting the committee report on the 2013/14 ministerial policy statement at the floor of parliament, defence committee boss Namugwanya said that, this law will ascertain the factors driving desertions.
“Madam Speaker, my committee is concerned about the desertions from the UPDF and the financial implications of such desertions besides its effect on force generation and planning. These desertions are attributed to windfall from peace support operations, unmet expectations and opportunism” Hon Nyamugwanya said.
She also added that “These desertions are a major threat to national security as they undermine operations and also contribute to general crime in the country adding that desertions are also a huge cost to national resources as such they should not be taken lightly” She added.
The committee further noted that, increased desertions exert a huge cost on the military especially considering that the cost of training,feeding,clothing and medical care are eroded and the process of apprehending such deserters is equally costly.
Meanwhile the minister of defence Crisps Kiyonga has also assured parliament that UPDF top commanders have take some stapes to end desertions from the Army.
“Hon members, we have already taken stapes to end the issue of desertions from the army. We have arrested some and others have come back” Minister Kigonga confirmed.
He further said that, government is in negotiations with United Nations (UN) on the compensation of the Army jets which crashed in the mountains of Kenya last year on the way to keep peace in Somalia.
“We are in deep negotiations with UN and I will report back to parliament in case we reach to final stages” Kiyonga noted.
Kiyonga’s response about the crash of the fighter jets came after Mbale municipality MP Jack Wamai tasked him to explain to parliament how the compensation of fighter jets has reached.