The debate on a motion calling on government to sign and ratify a treaty on prohibition of nuclear weapons saw Members of Parliament divided on the subject.
This prompted Tororo District Woman MP, Hon Sarah Opendi moving that the motion be referred to a committee of Parliament for further scrutiny.
Speaker, Jacob Oulanyah who chaired the House sitting on Tuesday, 26 October 2021 then directed the Committee on Foreign Affairs to scrutinize the motion.
“Study the motion, ask questions to the relevant government ministries, get answers and report back to the House,” Oulanyah said.
Oulanyah who chaired the House said the Foreign Affairs Committee should study the motion further
Bardege-Layibi Division MP, Hon Martin Ojara Mapenduzi had earlier moved the motion urging government to sign and ratify a treaty on the prohibition of nuclear weapons.
“The delay by Uganda to sign and ratify the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear weapons diminishes Uganda’s standing on the international stage where Uganda is recognised as a model country in handling matters of international concern,” Mapenduzi said.
He added that Uganda may miss out on the first meeting of state parties to the Treaty on Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 22 March 2022 in New York if she does not sign, ratify and deposit the ratification instrument at the United Nations by 22 December 2021.
Hon Oguzu opposed the motion
Jonam County MP, Hon Emmanuel Ongiertho who seconded the motion said that Uganda is a promoter of peace globally and should assent to the treaty.
“We should not only limit ourselves to the weapons but we also look at the materials. The effects of nuclear are adverse because people exposed to these materials usually have their DNA altered,” he said.
Amolatar District Woman Representative, Hon Agnes Atim said that whatever affects the lives of people should be controlled.
‘We need to sign and ratify the treaty against these weapons as anything that causes tragedy must be stopped,” she said.
However, the Maracha County MP, Hon Lee Denis Oguzu opposed the motion saying it is a security issue and not urgent.
“This is a security issue that should have been studied by the security agencies before we commit. Nuclear treaties are negotiated to curb ambitions of super powers. What is there to curb in Uganda? We need a proper study into this before we commit to this treaty,” he said.
Hon Dicksons Kateshumbwa (NRM, Sheema Municipality) said there is need for more research into the motion because in East Africa only Tanzania had ratified.
“I know this treaty has about 86 countries that have signed. The movers need to consult with the government, and ask questions like, ‘is this treaty in line with the Energy Council?’ Why are developed countries seated on the fence yet they are pushing us to ratify?” he asked.
Kassanda County North MP, Hon Patrick Oshabe Nsamba said the government needs to inform the members if Uganda has a nuclear plant for North Korea.
“In 2019, the country was informed by Ministry of Energy on the high levels of uranium that would be used for energy power generation. In 2020, however, a documentary on social media mentioned that North Korea has a nuclear plant in Kalangala, he said adding that, ’the Minister needs to answer why we have not ratified the Protocol? Do we have a nuclear plant in Kalangala? If so what is purpose of this plant?’