WHAT IS SECRET ABOUT MUSEVENI'S MILITARY GAO?
Last week Museveni's military tribunal convicted six junior officers for leaking classified information and they were sentenced to two months’ imprisonment. They were accused of conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline. That they used social media to download and share classified military documents referred to as General Administrative Order (GAO) that contained instructions and names of promoted officers.
Within the military there are ways of communicating administrative orders and instructions to all soldiers. There is the Part Two Orders at company level. Part One Orders (POO) at battalion level, Brigade Orders, Garrison Orders and Division Orders. Such orders which can be on a daily, monthly or yearly basis contain announcements of special incidents, functions, or instructions issued out to servicemen. They are printed, signed by the head of that particular unit and posted on notice boards.
At army headquarters level, the Commander in Chief (CIC) gives administrative orders and instructions through the General Administrative Orders (GAO). Since it is only the CIC who commissions, promotes, demotes, appoints, and deploys gazetted officers, such instructions come through the GAO. Such documents containing administrative instructions are not secret since they don’t concern security operations.
At most, they can be classified as "restricted" to members of the military but even they reach the public domain, there would be not any breach of security. This particular promotion exercise was hastily arranged around late November 2017 just four days after the army in Zimbabwe had moved against the 37 years old dictatorship of Museveni's mentor, Robert Mugabe.
Museveni who developed a cold, as usual moved very fast to hoodwink his soldiers with ceremonial promotions and promises of a pay rise. He elevated five Brigadiers to the rank of Maj. Gen., 25 Colonels to the rank of Brigadier and two Lt Cols to Colonel. This category of senior officers, most of whom hold no significant assignment in active military service was designed to provide a smokescreen for the 300 officers from CMI and SFC who were also promoted. The uniqueness of this particular promotion is that the rest of the army departments and units were not considered.
The six charged who included one Captain and five Lieutenants appeared before the Unit Disciplinary Committee (UDC) under the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) chaired by Col. Tom Kabuye. They are Capt. Kyamwiru, Lt. Nakora, Lt. Kahamba, Lt. Asiimwe, Lt. Kabagambe, and Lt. Watwaluma. The mother units of all the accused are SFC, Armoured Welfare Training School Kalama and Oliver Tambo Leadership School Kaweweta and non of them is from CMI. Being the lowest level military tribunal, the UDC is mandated to try personnel who belong to that particular mother Unit. The fact is that the six officers were tried by the UDC of CMI instead of their mother units and more so from where the alleged crime was committed, reveals a lot more serious background to the disciplinary action other than what has been disclosed to the public.
To fully understand the argument, one needs to examine the identities of the six junior officers and the sensitivity of their mother units. They are 98% westerners and Hima by ethnicity who exclusively serve under the SFC and its sub-units including Armoured Warfare.
In July 2016, Museveni's General Court Martial (GCM) convicted six soldiers over treason linked to Gen. Ssejusa. All the six are ethnic Hima of which two were from SFC's Task Force Battalion and Tank Battalion respectively while the rest had been aides to Gen. Ssejusa. They were Rwakyozi, Mwebaze, Ninsiima, Nayebare, Kakarugahi and Rubanuuma. Therefore, ever since that incident which was the first of its kind for ethnic Hima army officers to plot against Museveni, the situation never remained the same within the SFC.
There is a lot of suspicion and sidelining thus a high possibility that the recently accused officers were motivated by the fact that they had unfairly and unreasonably missed out on promotions. By their own confessions, they pleaded that "it was out of ignorance and excitement over the promotion of their colleagues."
The tone of the statement impliedly reveals that their action was driven by anger, despair, frustration and disappointment. The sharing of the list on social media must have been construed by Museveni and his Intelligence apparatus to mean act of disgruntlement thus treated as rebellious. That is why CMI swung into action to pick the six junior officers from their different mother units, interrogate them, brief Museveni of its findings who in turn must have decided their fate.
There is no doubt therefore, after serving their sentence, the six soldiers will not rejoin their mother units but will be referred to the General Headquarters for redeployment to their less significant units while CMI will keep constant watch on them. The little known CMI's Col. Tom Kabuye who chaired the trial UDC is a veteran of the Luwero Bush War who was seriously wounded and remained with a paralysed right hand and leg.
For some years he was the Intelligence Officer for the army General Headquarters until in the early 1990s when he was involved in abuse of office by way of aiding 'supply of air' together with among others now Brig. Sam Nakuru who had been the Administrative Officer. The matter was swept under the carpet and then Capt. Tom Kabuye was grounded at the then DMI headquarters.
Since Baganda have no top space in Museveni's intelligence machinery, ever since, he has continued to linger around CMI without being involved in mainstream intelligence handling but simple administrative functions of support staff. He was only dragged into presiding over this particular illegal and repressive act by the so called UDC. Actually, CMI being a mere department of the army under General Headquarters, can not constitute a UDC.
It is for the same reason that even its own personnel have always been taken before the UDC of the army General Headquarters (GHQS). The case in point is of a one Capt. Godfrey Barigye of CMI who was recently charged before the GHQS UDC for theft of gold before the matter was referred to the General Court Martial. This was the first time that CMI was convening a UDC and the move was designed to cover-up some mischief.
Owing to the absence of clear guidelines on promotions and appointments in Museveni's army, officers rely on patronage and luck to be elevated or to have their services recognized and rewarded in form of promotion and appointment. As such documents like the GAO are treated like top secret military documents yet the contents are officially shares by the same authorities with the media. Therefore, the six junior officers are victims of a repressive and paranoid establishment.
INFORMATION IS POWER AND "HITTING ON THE HEAD" IS THE WAY TO GO