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Uganda seeks Shs1.3b to renovate embassy in US, Somalia

Uganda’s foreign affairs ministry requested for an additional Shs1.3billion to renovate and boost security at the country’s embassies in Somalia and New York (US) respectively.

The chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Norah Nywendwoha, March 22 presented the requests to the Parliament Budget Committee where she said the Ugandan embassy in Mogadishu faces constant security threats due to a presence of insurgents.

“As a committee, we were informed of random attacks [at the embassy] by Al-Shabaab using improvised devices, vehicle borne improvised devices and shelling with mortar projectiles,” Nyendwoha noted, adding that “security is needed.”

She stated that after carefully reviewing the report, her committee had recommended that Sh731 million be approved in order to help the embassy improve security and make necessary repairs to its facilities.

According to her, this sum will also cover any salary shortfalls brought about by the new government policy to raise salaries of scientists.

Nyendwoha also demanded Sh660 million as partial payment for work on the air circulation at the permanent home of the Uganda House in New York, which she claims was last repaired in 1975 and has experienced ongoing breakdowns.

“The Embassy had originally asked for Shs1billion but settled on a part-payment schedule as agreed with both the contractor and the Ministry of Finance,” she said.

However, MPs on the Budget Committee argued that it was necessary to assess the mission’s level of insecurity in Mogadishu and questioned whether the UPDF in Somalia could take responsibility for that mission’s security rather than hiring private security guards to secure the embassy’s premises.

“How do we say that our army is deployed to guard restoration of other people, but when it comes to our own embassy, you are hiring?” Kiira Municipality MP Ibrahim Ssemujju asked.

The UPDF’s mandate in Mogadishu is about to expire, according to Nyendwoha, and the supplementary request is intended to maintain the embassy’s operations.

Background

In March 2007, Uganda was the first country to send troops to Somalia as part of the African Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

The Ugandan contingent continues to be the largest contingent in AMISOM, with 6,223 soldiers stationed in Sector 1, which includes Banadir (Mogadishu), Middle, and Lower Shabelle region.

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