Uganda’s invasion of Migingo proves we ‘bought’ arms we don’t need

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By Kenneth Kwama

So far, nobody in the Government has attached meaning to Uganda’s invasion of Migingo Island, yet such threats are beginning to sound uncannily familiar.

In the past, insurgents from the Oromo Defence Forces (ODF) of Ethiopia and Somali extremists have crossed over to Kenya at will and caused mayhem.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni has picked the wrong time to ‘threaten us’ by sending his forces to occupy Migingo. The timing coincides with the landing of ‘our’ deadly military cargo from Ukraine.

Honestly, I thought we could engage Museveni’s forces in a safe little mind game, or even threaten war. It could perhaps offer our generals an opportunity to try the new toys recently acquired from Ukraine. But as usual, the Government pleaded for diplomacy.

So why do we buy expensive military equipment that we have no use for?

I may not be a defence specialist, but I doubt whether it makes any sense to invest billions in military equipment when there is no war.

Such projects look more ridiculous on the faces of hungry old men and women who sometimes have to climb trees to look for wild berries.

The conspiracy by the usual ‘noise makers’ to ignore this fact demonstrates the willingness to accept the Government’s gluttonous spending on ‘unnecessary’ military gear. There’s no reason to question the Government’s investment in defence because good military capability could act as a deterrent to Uganda’s expansionist aspirations.

Threat to Pan-Africanism

But such projects do not make economic sense, especially when a country is facing a food crisis.

Since the horse has already bolted from the stable, it is only logical to say Museveni should not be allowed to get away with it every time he rolls his tanks over our territory.

When the next affront comes, and it surely will, it would make sense to notify the Turkana or Pokot folks because they seem to be a more viable line of defence than the army.
Museveni, just like Libyan leader Muammar Gadaffi, believes in a republic called Africa. Perhaps this explains why he is the only President in Africa to have sent soldiers to militarily intervene in more than 10 countries, including Congo, Rwanda and Somalia.

I believe Uganda’s strongman is more of a threat to Pan-Africanism than supporter. Sadly, he listens to nobody, but himself. This could prove a stumbling block to the realisation of East African Community’s goals.

Uganda needs Kenya just like we need them. Economically, it is our biggest trading partner.

It is true they have their hands on the oil faucet, but this is no reason for Museveni to start treating us with contempt.

—Kwama is a senior writer with The Standard: [email protected]

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