By Prossy Namiiro
President Museveni has assured the Somalia President Hassan Sheik Mohamud of close ties as he prepares to take up the responsibilities and challenges of presidency of the Federal government of Somalia.
Museveni’s message was delivered by Amama Mbabazi, Presidential Special Envoy who represented president Museveni and led Uganda’s delegation at the inauguration ceremony of president Sheik Hassan Mohamud who was elected into office on May 15, 2022.
“We wish to assure you and the people of Somalia of continued friendship and sympathetic interests of the Uganda government. He looks forward to working with you not only to develop closer relations between our two countries but also to unite our efforts in the cause of peace and brotherhood of all peoples, “said Museveni.
Uganda’s Deputy Ambassador to Somalia, Amb. Maj Gen (rtd) Nathan Mugisha, stated that the Inauguration of Hassan Sheik Muhamud is a sign of hope, a vote of confidence, a plus to ATMIS and a good step as far as democracy is concerned.
He mentioned that FGS with support from AMISOM/ATMIS has successfully and peacefully conducted Somali elections four times; 2008, 2012, 2017 and 2022.
He said without the 2022 Somali elections being successful, it would have threatened to reverse the AMISOM/ATMIS gains.
“We are looking forward to supporting the FGS to make sure that they sustain the gains and the victory we have already achieved in averting Al-Shabaab and other insurgents,” Mugisha noted.
Mugisha commended the Somali government for generating its own security forces and observed that there is still need for more troop generation.
For them to succeed in this, he called on the international community to support the SSF further to make sure that they can be able to timely take over the responsibilities that ATMIS has been performing.
“ATMIS has been a successful campaign and we want it to be sustained up to the end so that the Somalis can be able to join the international community to participate in their rightful duties in the international community,” Mugisha emphasised.
Brig Gen Keith Katungi, Ugandan Contingent Commander in Somalia, stated in an interview that ATMIS’s involvement in the Somali elections is a security operation not an offensive action against the enemy but part of stabilization efforts in Somalia.
“All ATMIS sectors were involved in the last concluded elections but Sector 1 being in control of the city and the center where the FGS sits, took the lion’s share of what needed to be done,” Katungi noted
Asked about the experiences and the lessons learnt during the last concluded Somali elections, Brig Katungi observed that Somali is a fractured society recovering from war
“And thus you do not expect Somali brothers to be on thea same footing with you. You have to be very sensitive, impartial, know your brothers and sisters that you are helping so that you can offer your all. You must be conscious to know that they need a brother to lean on, create harmonious relations with the leaders and SSF and keep revising your mandate and keep on track,” he said.
He further applauded the resoluteness of the UPDF soldiers who have been serving in Somalia unreservedly.
“Above all, we had good relations with the people of Somalia. At times leaders think of engaging those in higher echelons but the common man matters a lot. The common Somali knows what UPDF has done in this country. We are always working together with Somalis and that was very important,” noted Katungi.
Katungi underscored that the inauguration of Hassan Sheik Mohamud, is a new chapter not only for Somalia but also for ATMIS and the international community that has been supporting Somalia.
“As FGS, ATMIS and SSF, I think we won and Somalia has not fallen back into a civil war. Together with our Somali brothers, we have won together and together we can.,”he said.
Uganda was the first country to deploy troops to Somalia in March 2007.