Ugandan soldiers under the African Union Mission in Somalia have not been paid for seven months, Gen Jeje Odongo, the minister of State for Defense has said.
On December 18, during his defense of the ministry of Defense’s Shs 1.4 trillion budget for the 2016/17 financial before the parliamentary committee on Internal Affairs and Defense, Gen Odongo said Ugandan peacekeepers in Somalia have not been paid for months.
“Our soldiers under Amisom [African Union Mission for Somalia] have received their allowances of up to May,” Odongo told MPs, “But from July up to date, our soldiers have received nothing.”
Ugandan soldiers who have been deployed in volatile Somalia since 2007, are entitled to a monthly pay of $1028 (about Shs 3.3m) each, according to Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesman.
Out of this, government deducts administration costs of $200 (about Shs 660,000) which leaves each soldier with a net $828 (about Shs 2.7m) on average.
Although it is the sole responsibility of the African Union to remit Amison troops’ wages, opposition MPs led by Muwanga Kivumbi, charged that the Uganda government has not done enough to push AU to pay up.
“It’s the responsibility of our government to push for their payment,” Kivumbi said by telephone on Monday.
“So, it’s political indiscipline back home because the army is being compensated by the African Union of the equipment being lost, but because this is an election year, everything is on halt to handle the elections first.”
However, the ministry of defence informed MPs in its statement that government was in discussions with the “African Union regarding timely releases of the requisite funds”.