Friday, 28 September 2018

UGANDA: How Museveni destroyed Gen.Mugisha Muntu's political career


Gen. Muntu is one of the thousands of citizens who can ably lead Uganda. Even Museveni appreciates capacity to resiliently pursue his political ambitions. To contain Mugisha Muntu, Museveni opted to fast track him through the ranks and made him the Army Commander. At the same time and as usual, Museveni would go behind Muntu to undermine Muntu's. Museveni has also unusually not been physically humiliating and demeaning Gen. Muntu's past performance; a factor that accounts for Muntu being branded a Museveni mole. By doing so, Museveni had set in motion the systematic destruction of Gen. Muntu's political career.

Going by the above brief backfround, Gen. Muntu's political journey is faced with an uphill task of going over the following hurdles;

As is always the case, Gen. Muntu will have to contest against the state with all its resources and security machinery lining up behind Museveni and his Musevensm. Ugandans have lost all hope of ever having a peaceful change of leadership. Museveni is determined to violently hold into power but Gen. Muntu is advocating for a diplomatic and civil approach. He has to convince Ugandans that Museveni's security machinery and Electoral Commission will hand Muntu victory.

Museveni's long thriving propaganda against UPC and Obote as being responsible for Uganda's woes no longer sells. The population have long realized that UPC and Obote were not as evil as Museveni. For Gen. Muntu, a son of a prominent UPC founding member and personal friend of Obote, without being targeted but opted to join Museveni's Bush War against the UPC was treacherous enough to invite a backlash from UPC. Much as UPC may look faded, its roots are still strong in some sections of the population and regions. For the same reason, Muntu will face a big task to convince the DP to rally behind a son of a UPC founding member.

Gen. Muntu was Museveni's Director of Military Intelligence (DMI), Chief Political Commissar (CPC), Northern Uganda based 5th Division Commander and later overall Army Commander for a record nine years at the height of insurgency in the north and north eastern region. During his tenure the army committed heinous crimes against the population. The population don't not know that Muntu was just a figurehead Army Commander while Museveni was directly in charge of the army's field operations. In Muntu's effort to de-link himself from those crimes, he will have to incriminate Museveni and some of Museveni's top Generals. Consequently Museveni and company will fight back hence leaving Gen. Muntu gravely bruised. MUSEVENI ET AL WILL FIGHT MUNTU FOREVER to avoid being implicated in the atrocities they committed and will try to blame Muntu.

Gen. Muntu is said to be an ethnic Munyarwanda. Unfortunately Ugandans are up in rage and furry over the Banyarwanda whom they associate with the Museveni regime's political and economic repression. In their usual survival instincts, the Banyarwanda will throw their weight behind Gen. Muntu.

Gen. Muntu left the Museveni regime and joined the FDC where he has held different top positions including the topmost, party President. What he only failed to achieve under the FDC was making it to the ballot paper as a flag bearer. He does not dispute his losses in FDC since they were as a result of a democratically free and fair process. He has an uphill task to convince Ugandans that his departure from the FDC is not solely driven by presidential ambitions. 

“There are complications. There is a desire to become the president but getting there can be a problem. I have the desire, that is why I am doing what I am doing."
Gen. Muntu - 28/9/2018

Ugandans learnt lessons from the departure and futile presidential bid of Museveni's former Secretary General and closest confidant, Amama Mbabazi. Ugandans had hoped that having been an insider, Mbabazi was leaving with not only a significant section of Musenists, but also Museveni's secrets pertaining to election rigging. Instead he ended up being allocated 130,000 votes countrywide. It's coming to two decades since Gen. Muntu left the Museveni camp and if at all he had left the Museveni camp with any secret tactics, he ought to have applied them in FDC.

As a former Army chief he would cause a lot of excitement if he had left yesterday. Unfortunately it's coming to two decades since he ended his military career. As a strict disciplinarian, his tenure as army chief, Gen. Muntu made more enemies than friends in the army. He lost the battle against thieves in the army and the few non thieves have either left the army or have adopted to thieving which is the parameter for loyalty to Museveni. Using his usual divide and rule policy, Museveni had systematically painted Gen. Muntu as being insensitive to the ordinary soldiers' welfare and that he was a mere "blackboard General". 

Currently, the strategic positions in the military are dominated by Museveni's ethnic Bahima who for historical reasons don't see eye to eye with Gen. Muntu. You may recall when as FDC President, Gen. Muntu denied audience to Gen. Ssejusa. The two fell out at a time the former was army chief.

For Museveni who calls himself Ssebalwanyi (chief fighter) prides in having defeated many opponents. Gen. Muntu's coming to the fold re-energizes Museveni to seek another round of election so that he can defeat his former Army chief. At worst, he can even opt to unleash his son as the presidential contender to violently and humiliatingly rigg out Gen. Muntu.

Therefore, unless Gen. Muntu swallows his pride and adopts the so-called radical approach to Museveni's military dictatorship, his civil and diplomatic electioneering agenda may not sell. At best he may end at merely appearing on the ballot paper just as was the case with Gen. Biraro and Amama Mbabazi.


Wednesday, 26 September 2018

UGANDA: Why parliament cannot help in the Museveni brutal campaign on the lakes


Deputy Speaker of Parliament Jacob Oulanyah has directed the House Committee on Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Industry to investigate the UPDF Fisheries Protection Force (FPU) for allegedly brutalizing fishermen on Lake Victoria. The Speaker’s directive came after the UPDF, in a statement read to MPs by State Minister for Veteran Affairs Bright Rwamirama denied the allegations of torture. Maj (Rtd) Rwamirama instead said the current operations are lakes Victoria, Edward and George have so far revived stocks of the Nile perch quantities and reduced foreign exploitation of our water resources.”

Last week, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga accused the UPDF of being notorious and taking the law in their hands after accusing the army’s fisheries unit of brutalizing fishermen. She gave the UPDF leadership up to Tuesday to explain the allegations.

And the statement read by Maj Rwamirama did not convince the MPs, especially those representing constituencies in island districts. Bukooli Island M.P, Ouma George Abott told Parliament thus;
“I pray that Capt Sebukera who is commanding the UPDF on the waters be withdrawn because I don’t wish for what may happen; the people are suffering and it is unfair when the minister says otherwise. I don’t wish to see a situation where we come here to eulogise,”

Jinja East MP Paul Mwiru tabled evidence to back up his claim that UPDF is torturing fishermen on the landing sites of Jinja. Among them are pictorials showing scars on the torture victims, letters written to UPDF and Police letters.

The legislator said the officers (UPDF) have declined to take any guidance from none other than the President himself and they publicly confess it to civilian authorities. The MPs accused the soldiers of extortion and torture among other vices.

Ms Kadaga, last Tuesday demanded the arrest of Lt Col James Nuwagaba, the commander of the UPDF Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU), whom she accused of torturing fishermen in the operations against illegal fishing on Lake Victoria. Ms Kadaga also revealed that she had interacted with several fishermen who had blamed the soldiers.

The Speaker said whereas other countries such as Kenya also have security personnel on the lake, complaints are usually against Ugandan security personnel.
Mr Abbot also accused the UPDF enforcement officers on Lake Victoria of extortion.
“They have become extortionist; they are beating our people and extorting money from them,” Mr Abbot said.
He claimed that last month, the army confiscated fish worth Shs9 million from a fisherman.

On April 14 2018, at Isakabusolo Primary School playgrounds in Bulida Sub-county, Bugiri District, at a thanksgiving ceremony for Bukooli Central Member of Parliament Solomon Silwany, Museveni as usual defended the brutality by soldiers thus;
“I decided to deploy army officers because the marine police was defeated by fishermen and had become fish thieves. But it is very sad because I hear complaints that soldiers are caning you but the canes came after resistance from fishermen to stop fishing young fish, which was killing the country’s economy,”

On April 8, 2018 this website ran an exclusive analysis of the driving forces behind this brutality as reproduced below;

“These routes on the lake prompted me to believe and realize that the government of the time had no control over the territory of Lake Victoria.”
Museveni telling residents of Bukasa Island how he used L. Victoria to leave and enter the country during his Bush War – March 2018.

Lake Victoria harbours Uganda’s southern and south-eastern border with Tanzania and Kenya respectively. Owing to the location of the Capital Kampala on the shores, this makes the lake an area of strategic security interest. It has vast islands and landing sites whose main economic activity is fishing which contributes 3% of Uganda’s GDP.

During the reign of Iddi Amin, Lake Victoria was a location of high security interest owing to the presence of exiled dissident main bases in Tanzania and to some extent Kenya. In the early days of the anti-Iddi Amin struggle, a canoe carrying 85 dissident fighters belonging to Save Uganda Movement (SUM), who had taken off from the Tanzania side of the lake capsized a short moment after taking off. At one time the Iddi Amin regime appointed a former British soldier, Maj. Bob Astles as head of the Anti-Smuggling Unit whose major focus was on L. Victoria.
Following the fall of Iddi Amin, Maj. Bob Astles was charged with murder of a 16 years old fisherman, Henry Musisi allegedly on 31st May 1977 at Kikoko landing site but was acquitted by the High Court in October 1981.

During Museveni’s Bush War (1981 – 1986), L. Victoria was the major route that linked the fighters with the outside world. With Kenya having been the hub of the rebel’s External Committee, Museveni and most of his top fighters often exited and re-entered the country via the same lake. Logistical supplies like the NRA radio equipment was smuggled into the country via Lake Victoria. A chain of fishermen, canoes, rebel contacts along the landing sites etc. were coordinated by now retired Brigadier Andrew Lutaaya. Being a port of Ssese Island, Andrew Lutaaya, like most islanders, was a master of the lake.

On page 144 of his Sowing the Mustard Seed, Museveni recounts: “I stayed with the boat boys and Kutesa on the Island until night fall. At around 10. p.m. we decided to hire a canoe. We landed 200 metres north of Kasenyi landing site where our boat boys knew a certain family nearby.” It is during one of these treacherous journeys that after surviving a boat wreckage, Lutaaya gave the shivering Museveni a bottle of beer as a remedy. Years after coming to power Museveni rewarded some of these fishermen and contacts from Nsadzi Island with fishing nets, boats, engines, cash capital and motor vehicles.

Recently Col. Fred Bogere told The Observer that in 1981 after completion of military training in Libya, their group tried three times to enter the country from Kenya via Lake Victoria. After failing twice due to arrest by Kenya authorities and landing near Luzira Prison respectively, they succeeded on the third time when they landed in an area in Mukono that was under the control of Gen. Kyaligonza’s Black Bomber.

In the mid 1990s, Museveni created an Anti-Smuggling Unit (ASU) headed by Brigadier Andrew Lutaaya whose major focus was Lake Victoria. He was arbitrarily replaced by Gen. Kalekyezi and the Unit renamed the Special Revenue Protection Services (SPRS). The unit was so brutal in the execution of its mandate that many citizens lost lives, property and a livelihood. The unit was more concerned with security monitoring than revenue protection.

With growing political dissent over Museveni’s military dictatorship, he felt that some Ugandans may resort to use of arms to cause regime change. He created a Beach Management Unit (BMU) under the Police that was charged with monitoring security on the lake shores. In February 2017 he disbanded the BMU and replaced it with the Fisheries Protection Unit (FPU) under the army. Under the cover of fighting illegal fishing, the unit imposed a ban on fishing. It has been indiscriminately killing, torturing, illegally detaining, destroying property and ordering locals to vacate the fishing villages and landing sites. By July 2017 in Masaka area alone, over 1,000 had been evicted by the army from the fishing villages on grounds that they were not gazetted.

On 10th December 2017, 14 Members of Parliament from the fishing communities met Museveni and demanded the withdrawl of soldiers whom they accused of torture and general hostility. By January 2018 more than 10 arbitrary and gruesome killings by the soldiers had been recorded. On 9th February 2018, the Speaker of Parliament demanded for an explanation from the Ministry of Defence over the mandate of the army in fighting illegal fishing. This followed an appeal by the Mukono South M.P, Hon. Muyanja for relief aid to his displaced constituents after their 100 houses and property were indiscriminately set ablaze. It is reliably reported that the soldiers between fishermen and other local residents not involved in the fishing were affected.

The high-handed soldiers claim they have orders from Museveni to use excessive force. Ever since, no single soldier has been made to account. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Monitor, the Commander of FPU, Maj. Nuwagaba had this to say;
“…. the law gives us leverage to charge you as economic terrorists. If you are caught, you will be treated like Kong.” He went ahead to defend the brutality thus; “…. if one brings an axe to hit me, I will use skills to dislodge him. Some of them take alcohol. If you are not careful they can cut off your head. As a responsible UPDF officer how can I allow a person without a national I.D to cut me? Reasonable force cannot apply when a person is armed with a panga.”

In April 2016 security agencies at the Uganda/Rwanda border turned back a group of 34 Rwandese nationals who were armed with speed boat engines and their fishing gear headed for Kiyindi landing site in Mukono. It was reported that already the estimated population of 600 Rwandese who had settled at Kiyindi were deeply involved in illegal fishing and other criminal activities. The development came inspite of the policy of free movement of nationals of EAC member states. In February 2018 Museveni and Kenya’s Uhuru announced plans to set up a joint monitoring mechanism over the lake using radar.
“I was smuggling weapons through this borderline here. You should have scanners. We are working to put monitoring stations. We shall have a Lake Victoria monitoring plan too. We need eyes to see what is happening on Lake Victoria.”
Reliable sources reveal that a cartel of “Mafias” are using soldiers from the FPU to push their rivals out of business.

Therefore, from the a foregoing it can be authoritatively submitted that Parliament can't help. The brutality by the army is as usual with approval of Museveni and is part of a wider scheme of militarisation, keeping Ugandans in perpetual fear, economic deprivation through disabling of economic means of survival and eventual displacement from land.


UGANDA: Where are Museveni's reservists?


Article 17 (2) of the 1995 Constitution requires every able-bodied citizen of Uganda to undergo compulsory military training and to turn up for military service whenever the need arises. Instead, the regime has been selectively exploiting this article by taking potential candidates for political indoctrination (Mchakamchaka) drills.

The UPDF Act (2005) S.6 creates a Reserve Force comprised of personnel seconded from regular forces, retired officers and discharged militants, auxiliary forces, state security organisations (ISO and ESO) and such other citizens of Uganda having undergone military training under Article 17 (2) of the Constitution. S.6(3) requires any members of the above mentioned categories as potential candidates to be called upon for service.

The Police Act (1994) Cap 303 S.6 creates a Police Reserve consisting of officers who have clocked the retirement age, those whose contract with the police has expired, and those who having terminated their contract with the police and have offered to serve on the Reserve.

Defending the creation of election violence militias dubbed Crime Preventers, on February 2, 2016 during a press conference, Museveni argued that;
"In all modern countries, there is an Army and Police Reserve. Crime Preventers are a Police Reserve. They do not have any political affiliation. Anyone who wants to become a Crime Preventer should join."

A year later, while commenting on a rage of murders in the greater Kampala region, during Labour Day celebrations in Palisa, Museveni disclosed how he was recalling his reservists to bolster security.
He said;
"Using improved technical means (e.g. cameras in towns) and, if necessary, the mobilization of our massive reserves, we shall destroy anybody involved either directly or indirectly. I have already ordered the security on how, if necessary, this can be done cost-effectively.”
No so called reservists were recalled.

A year later in March 2018 he disbanded the Crime Preventers because he perceived it to be loyal to his former police chief, Gen. Kalelyezi whom he accuses of harboring presidential ambitions. Addressing the leaders of Crime Preventers he said;
"Why I left you with the police is because you were dealing with the crime but in the end, you belong to the army… I now regard you as a reserve army for UPDF. My idea is to have a small army which is equipped but with a big reserve."
Consequently the army reportedly commenced a countrywide registration of Crime Preventers.

In June 2018 when Hon. Abiriga was assassinated, Museveni disclosed that;
"Security, under the chairmanship of the CDF, yesterday decided to recommend to me the call up of some reserves to deploy wherever criminals may manifest themselves. Remember we have a reserve of 12 million".
He was referring to Crime Preventers whose figure of 12 is outrageously inflated. They were not recalled.

On September 9th, 2018 while giving his State Of Security address flowing the murder of police commander, Mohammad Kirumira he said;
"In the interim as we build urban infrastructure, we are calling up 24,000 LDUs for Kampala and Wakiso area. We are calling up the reserves and they will man the little trading centres. This undertaking will cost government up to Shs 57 billion and in as much as it is costly, what matters is if it restores security. There are 1,000 villages in Kampala. We shall flood all of them with our own guns. We shall see which guns have more effect”.

Last week, the army announced a recruitment program of Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel instead of recalling the reservists. In his message, the army Spokesman said;
“H.E the president and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces directed a call up of reserves of support enforcement of law and order in Kampala Metropolitan Area. In fulfillment of this directive, the UPDF announces that the recruitment of the LDUs personnel from the districts of Kampala, Mukono and Wakiso. There are seven requirements for one to be recruited as a member of the LDU.

The requirements include; being a citizen of Uganda and a holder of a National Identity Card, must be healthy and medically fit, Must be aged between 18 and 35 years, must be having formal education of P7 to S4 and preferably with no other formal engagement or employment, letters of recommendations, must be a resident of the area, must have no criminal record. All members of the Security Committees band local leaders in the three districts are required to mobilise people for recruitment."

The target population are fresh civilians who are being exploited owing to their desperate urge to earn a living and are not reservists.

In a twist of events, the Director Operations in the Uganda police force has directed police officers to immediately stop deploying crime preventers. He reminded his men that the command of former crime preventers was placed under UPDF as they constitute part of the reserve force.

“It has been noted that some unit commanders are still deploying them to perform official police duties on a regular basis and others have gone ahead to issue them with uniforms. The deployment of crime preventers is Illegal, irregular, and must be stopped with immediate effect.”
The disbanded Crime Preventers are criminals who act as agents of extortion, theft, and robbery by the police hence why police commanders continue to use them.

As we have repeatedly argued in the past, we strongly contend that Museveni's so called reservists don't exist. To him, all the unemployed youth in the country are his reserve force that he can use and abuse at his convenience. What would constitute legal reservists are groups of individuals that he used, abused and disgracefully discarded and is therefore shy to recall them; many of whom are either not willing to be abused again or can prove to be a menace.


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

UGANDA: Can Gen. Muntu do more than merely appearing on ballot paper?


Like most educated young men who joined Museveni's Bush War in the early 1980, Gen. Muntu too had dreams of ever becoming President of Uganda by succeeding Museveni. He like many others, had an honest belief that at one time Museveni would give way to his much younger comrades to take over. The likes of Sam Magara, Sam Katabarwa, Rubereeza, Eriya Kategaya, Mushega, Saleh, Muntu, Serwanga Lwanga, Ssejusa, Biraro, Tumukunde, Amama Mbabazi, Otafiire, Kazoora, Butime, Aronda, Kalekyezi to mention but a few. Gen. Ssejusa put it clearly in an interview with the BBC in June 2013 when asked if he harboured presidential ambitions;
"A Four Star General without ambition is in a wrong place."

Those who were in a hurry to realize their dreams are either dead or have been politically destroyed by Museveni. It's only Besigye, Mbabazi and Biraro who have contested against Museveni for the presidency. Gen. Muntu's presidential ambition has a unique background. A son of a strong UPC founding member, Muntu Oyera took everyone by surprise when he opted to join Museveni's Bush War against the Obote government. Actually, he was initially treated as a spy and placed under surveillance. When he was shot in combat and was sneaked to Kampala for treatment, President Obote came to know about it and sent him a message urging him not to go back to the bush. The resilient Muntu rejoined the Bush War upon recovering from injuries.

Upon taking over power in 1986, Muntu was the Director of Military Intelligence (DMI). His DMI was dominated by Banyarwanda including his deputy Paul Kagame. By the time the Banyarwanda left to invade Rwanda, Muntu was Museveni's Army Chief and remained in that position through the Rwanda war. Paul Kagame, his former Deputy at DMI is now the President of Rwanda. Muntu's tenure as Museveni's Army Commander was the longest (1989 - 1998). Muntu's choice was determined by the need to contain the powerful influence of the predominantly semi illiterate Bush War commanders who were accused of allying with the likes of Gen. Saleh and other ambitious commanders.

The incorruptible, uncompromising, and not power hungry Muntu meriticously served that purpose. He took office at a time when theft, diversion of resources, and a general feeling of entitlement by the Bush War commanders was being set in motion. In his bid to enforce discipline, he rendered many commanders inactive hence the begging of the KATEBE syndrome. However he suffered terrible humiliation from some of those predominantly Bahima junior and senior commanders. He was accused of targeting Bahima commanders. He never saw eye to eye with the likes of Ssejusa, Cheffe Ali, Kazini etc. Museveni did not come to his rescue and by the time he realised that Museveni was simply using him for personal convenience, it was too late.

He opted to leave military service and join active politics in the hope that he would better utilize his potential. As Army Commander, he had come close to the top of the power ladder, the presidency. That's why he turned down Museveni's offer of the position of Minister of Defence. Muntu very well knew that the position of military chief is stronger than that of Minister of Defence. But more so, Museveni had only intended to contain Muntu's political ambitions.

Outside the army Gen. Muntu started his political journey as an M.P for EALA in 2001. It's from here that he linked with the Parliamentary Advocacy Forum (PAFO) - a pressure group comprised of M.Ps from Museveni's NRM who were not satisfied with the trend of events under Museveni. Around the same time, Dr. Besigye had fled to exile after contesting in the 2001 elections and to keep the pressure, Reform Agenda had been formed as a pressure group by members of the Young Parliamentar Association (YPA). With the lifting of the ban on political parties ahead of the 2006 general elections, the need to form a viable political party became more evident.

Reform Agenda, PAFO and Chapa Karuhanga's NDF formed an alliance and commenced talks of a merger. PAFO took bold steps to have Gen. Muntu as the leader of the alliance while Reform Agenda pushed for Dr. Besigye. In this regard, several meetings were held in Zambia and South Africa where Dr. Besigye was exiled. During one of such meetings, Gen. Muntu cautioned Dr. Besigye thus;

"Don't expect to become the anointed leader when you return to Uganda."
In December 2004, the FDC was set in motion and in October 2005 Dr. Besigye returned from exile and was arrested and detained. He was nominated as the FDC flag bearer from detention and in February 2006 he was as expected rigged out in a violent electoral process. Gen. Muntu humbled himself and served under his former surbordinate in the army, Col. Besigye.

In February 2009, Gen. Muntu unsuccessfully attempted to become the FDC President but lost to Dr. Besigye (53 to 656). In January 2010, Dr. Besigye was again nominated as the FDC flag bearer for the February 2011 general elections. After being rigged out again, in 2012 Dr. Besigye cut his term short and Gen. Muntu beat Nandala Mafabi to become the FDC president. At this stage, Gen. Muntu had gotten closer to appearing on the presidential elections ballot paper. His dream was shattered when he again lost to Dr. Besigye in a free and fair internal election for the FDC flag bearer in the February 2016 general elections.

During the campaigns, the two had disagreed on strategy. Dr. Besigyye argued that he would win by defiance thus amass uprising that would guard the vote and even overrun the Museveni regime in the event of rigging. Gen.Muntu had argued that with proper mobilisation and strong structures, the FDC could win the polls. In his acceptance of defeat speech, Gen Muntu warned that without a clear and strong organisational strategy, the so called defiance or mass uprising would be smashed by the regime. But despite the defeat, as the party president, he threw his weight behind Dr. Besigye's campaign efforts. Dr. Besigye was once again rigged out and his efforts to rally the masses were smashed by the regime.

Gen. Muntu's dream of appearing on the ballot paper was further shattered when he lost to Eng. Patrick Oboi Amuriat for the party presidency in November 2017. Gen. Muntu attributed his loss to internal intrigue within the FDC. Consequently he announced his plans to consult widely as to whether he should stay in the party or quit. The eight months of consultation has been concluded and Gen. Muntu is now contemplating quitting the FDC.

Within the Museveni regine circles, Gen. Muntu is regarded as a moderate as opposed to the Dr. Besigye camp which is branded as extremists bent on using violence to gain power. It is for this attribute that some circles within the FDC have branded Gen. Muntu as a Museveni mole. Those who understand Gen. Muntu very well, including Dr. Besigye, have made it clear that he can't be a Museveni mole. However what is clear is that Gen. Muntu's departure will further shake the FDC.

Obviously, Gen. Muntu's focus is going to be on moblising all the opposition forces for the 2021 polls. Gen. Muntu, like very many other Ugandans can defeat Museveni in a free and fair electoral process. The big puzzle remains; WHETHER MUSEVENI CAN ALLOW TO LOSE POWER TO A GEN. MUNTU LED OPPOSITION. Unless a miracle happens, Gen. Muntu's political career may end at being referred to as a FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CONTESTANT. Having been Museveni's former army chief, his candidature will make big headlines, more especially in the international press. However, for Ugandans who are well versed with the political terrain, Gen. Muntu's candidature may not attract much enthusiasm.

For the Museveni regime, the new developments help to ease the pressure due to fear of opposition hardliners and so called radicals resorting to mass uprising. For the FDC, let Gen. Muntu leave and try his luck somewhere else. This is the time to prove that you can survive amidst a storm. From day one, you should have known that Gen. Muntu was set to leave and you ought to have put in place contingency plans. Pro-change Ugandans embraced the leadership from former Museveni comrades more especially the retired army officers in the hope that they were better positioned to eat into Museveni's power base, the military. Instead, it looks like the military is the one eating them up.

As a former intelligence chief and later army chief, Gen. Muntu knows very well better than anybody else that Museveni cannot let power go through an election. Therefore, Uganda shouldn't be surprised if Gen. Muntu turns out to be more defiant than the founders of the defiance campaign.

change of guards

Monday, 24 September 2018

UGANDA: How Museveni neutralized "terrorist" Gen. Moses Ali


Gen. Moses Ali hails from West Nile region and joined the army in 1968. He was commissioned in 1969 to the rank of 2nd Lt and appointed Officer in charge of Training in the Uganda Paratrooper School. In 1971 he was promoted to the rank of Major and appointed Commander of the Paratrooper School. In 1972 he was promoted to the rank of Colonel and in 1973 he was appointed Minister of Provincial administration (interior). In 1974 he was promoted to the rank of Brigadier and in 1975 he was appointed Minister of Finance. He also doubled as the leader of a government founded Islamic charity.

Around 1978, he was accused of embezzlement of sh77m from a charity and was also accused of mismanaging the Bank of Uganda. Sensing danger, Ali sneaked out of Kampala and went into hiding in his country home in West Nile before he fled to Sudan. When Iddi Amin was ousted the following year, the now exiled Moses Ali formed a rebel group, Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) comprising of mostly former Iddi Amin soldiers who had fled to Sudan. It is in this group that James Kazini initially belonged.

Moses Ali's UNRF was the first group that got huge consignments of arms from Gaddafi in the early 1980s. It fought the UNLA in the West Nile region while Museveni's NRA was in the Central region. When the military junta of Tito Okello Lutwa fell in 1986, Lt. Gen. Moses Ali, then a brigadier, joined the National Resistance Army (NRA), with over 1,000 Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) soldiers, whom he was leading. As a bargaining chip, he had tactfully left behind a faction of his army under Bamuze that came to be known as UNRF II.

President Yoweri Museveni, who had taken over power in 1986, welcomed Ali and incorporated his soldiers into the NRA. Ali was then appointed into cabinet as a Minister.

Meanwhile, James Kazini was made the Commanding Officer of NRA's 14th Battalion based in West Nile. He used the opportunity to settle old scores with former UNRF members in West Nile. He harassed, humiliated and framed his former colleagues. It took the intervention of Moses Ali who complained to Museveni and Kazini was removed from West Nile to Lubiri in Kampala.

However, things took a different turn on April 7, 1990. Ali was arrested on treason and terrorism charges. He was held at Lubiri military barracks under the custody of James Kazini. He was humiliatingly tortured and held incommunicado in an underground cell. His trial in a civilian court commenced on October 10, 1990. Prosecution led by State Attorney Semuka Mukomba, said Ali was arrested at the entrance to State House in Entebbe, when he was reportedly going to meet the President.

Mukomba said Ali, who had been promoted to brigadier, was accused of keeping supplies for rebels based in the DR Congo (then Zaire) and Adjumani. Mukomba told court that a file was recovered from Ali and it was part of the State exhibits in the case.

The Criminal Investigations Director, Samuel Echaku, said Ali was arrested following information that he was keeping military hardware to be supplied to the rebels in Zaire and Adjumani in Moyo to wage war against the NRM government. As a key witness in the case, Echaku told court on October 22 that his office received information in early 1990 that Ali was engaged in treasonable activities in Kampala.treasonable

Police detectives, he added, had been deployed to carry out surveillance on Ali's movements and his alleged collaborators. Echaku said he also alerted the central brigade commander, James Kazini a lieutenant colonel at the time.
Echaku said as they came out of an April 7, security meeting at State House with Kazini, they found Ali at the entrance and asked the guards to arrest him.

However, Echaku denied that the decision to arrest Ali was taken during the State House meeting, arguing that it was just a coincidence. That he saw him in a telephone booth and it seemed as if he was talking on phone. So I waited and arrested him. Ali was taken and detained in Lubiri military barracks.

The following day (April 8), Echaku told court, he went with a contingent of Police officers, accompanied by the military, under Lt. Edward Kacumitana's command, to search Ali'ss residence in Kololo. He said in the search, they found 16 guns, bullets, military uniforms (some of which were not for the Ugandan army), a seal, documents, cameras, films and 46 passports.

Echaku said because there were many guns, they concluded that Ali was involved in treason. He added that they also got information that Ali intended to ferry the weapons to his farm in Adjumani from where rebels based in Zaire could access them and use them against Uganda.

When they consulted the NRM Secretariat to ascertain whether the items had been allocated to Ali, the officials reportedly said the brigadier was only entitled to some but not all of the guns. Echaku said when detectives were sent to West Nile to determine whether the owners of the recovered passports were students as Ali argued, the alleged students denied having applied for the passports. Some of them had no knowledge of the application procedure, while others were too old to go for studies.

Ali was detained at Lubiri barracks because they suspected that his supporters would rescue him from Police custody, according to Echaku.
The CID chief added that they did not search Ali's residence in his presence because they deemed it dangerous to move him from Lubiri to Kololo since his supporters and the many guards he had at home would rescue him.

He continued that Ali, on March 17, 1990 at The Guide newspaper offices on Bombo Road, loaded a trailer with ammunition and drums of diesel and is said to have ferried them to Adjumani.
Court further heard that Ali supervised the loading of the arms with a pistol in his hand to prevent people from coming near the scene. Another witness who testified was Edward Kagazi, the acting permanent secretary in the Ministry of Relief and Social Rehabilitation. He told court that Ali was entitled to only two Police guards and three servants who were paid by the Government. Kagazi was the deputy secretary for Cabinet in the office of the President when Ali was appointed tourism and wildlife minister in 1986.

On the same day, the Director of Public Prosecutions, MacDusman Kabega, told court that the charge sheet had been amended and six alternative counts had been added on to it.
Between October 30 and November 28, Police officers Michael Kamparuza, Kuteesa and Fabian Byantalo, who searched Ali's house, pinned the general. They argued that Ali's wife, Sarah, led them upstairs in their house where they recovered guns, in addition to those recovered from the residences of the bodyguards. Jacob Asiimwe, the NRM secretariat administrator, was also a prosecution witness. He said Ali never got guns or guards from the secretariat but had maintained the ones he had when he joined the NRA, adding that they were yet to be formalised.

On October 10, 1990, Ali, through his lawyer, Henry Kayondo, asked court to order the Police to avail him his personal file, or its copy. The file, Kayondo argued, had been confiscated during Ali's arrest.
Kayondo submitted that the CID was holding Ali's file, which contained vital information and documents on Kazini detailing the atrocities he had committed in West Nile while still in UNRF. Before his arrest, my client had written to President Museveni about Kazini's atrocities while in West Nile and was on his way to meet the President over the same. Kayondo added that Ali's confiscated file contained a letter to Museveni about the same issue. Kayondo also said Kazini had manipulated investigations so as to create a rift between his client (Ali) and President Museveni.Kazini and Ali had had misunderstandings, according to Kayondo. He said the detention of his client at Lubiri military barracks gave the army an opportunity to interfere with investigations.
kazini denies

However, Kazini denied having any ill will against Ali or committing atrocities in West Nile. He said he knew Ali only as a minister. Kazini also denied knowledge of any file pinning him over the said atrocities. Kazini said although he was in UNRF in 1981 before he joined NRA, he never knew Ali personally. I never met him. I kept fighting with them in Madigo, Arua until we got defeated in 1983. After 1983, UNRF was disbanded and most of the men went to a refugee camp in Sudan. I left the camp and joined the bush war in Luwero in 1984. On October 22, Ali denied all the six treason, terrorism and possession of arms charges, as amended by Kabega.

Regarding passports, Kayondo told court that the applicants were students intending to travel to Pakistan for studies. He said Ali was helping needy students in West Nile to go for education abroad. Kayondo contended that it was unfair and a breach of law to search AliĆ¢€™s residence in his absence. On October 30, Kayondo told court that there were many inconsistencies in the evidence adduced by the State and asked Bamwite to dismiss all the charges.
He said Kamparuza could not ascertain the number of passports or bullets got from Ali's house, the number of guards and the plot number of the residence. Kayondo added that the General's wife, Sarah, had been forced to take the search team upstairs.

On December 20, the hearing of the case of illegal possession of firearms resumed and one of Ali's wives, Sarah, said the sh3m that the search team took from their Kololo house was for buying fuel for one of their fuel stations in Adjumani. Sarah, 33, said they had requested Police for the money to buy food since their breadwinner (Ali) had been imprisoned; but Police said court had to first instruct them before they could release the money.

On December 5, 1990, Bamwite exonerated Ali on the counts of terrorism but stated that the brigadier had a case to answer on five counts of illegal possession of firearms. Bamwite said prosecution had failed to prove the terrorism charges beyond reasonable doubt, adding that the evidence given by Echaku and Kazini was hearsay. But he stayed charges of illegal possession of firearms. On December 20, 1990, hearing of this case resumed and after a month, court found Ali guilty of three counts of illegal possession of firearms.

Magistrate Bamwite on January 7, 1991 sentenced Ali to two-and-a-half years in jail for illegally possessing two guns and 26 rounds of live ammunition. Bsing on evidence adduced by Echaku, Kazini and two Police officers Byantalo and Kamparuza, Bamwite told court: there was no doubt that the former minister possessed the firearms. Bamwite noted that whereas the bodyguards at Ali's home and the guns they had were legally registered at the NRM secretariat, the two guns and 26 rounds of ammunition were not on record at the secretariat and there was no explanation for that. Each gun carried a count and the 26 bullets carried a count too.

About the argument by Ali's lawyer that there was a break in the chain of evidence and the whereabouts of the other guns said to have been found in Ali's residence, Bamwite said; whereas the prosecution was able to identify the guns by a record taken during the search, there was no chance of the guns getting mixed up at any stage. The magistrate said the list made during the search should have strengthened the origin of the guns, adding that the guns were moved from one place to another by the same officer who at all the stages ascertained that the guns were the same ones.

On the possibility that the accused possessed the guns as a soldier himself, Bamwite said the defence could not prove if the accused is a soldier yet the prosecution evidence showed that Ali was appointed as a civilian minister. Bamwite added that Ali failed to discharge the burden placed on him to explain the presence of guns in his residence. I therefore find the accused guilty of possession of two guns and 26 rounds of ammunition which constituted the third, fifth and eighth counts of the charge of firearms without a certificate and convict him to two-and-a-half years for each of the three counts, which he will serve concurrently, Bamwite ruled.
The magistrate said before passing his judgment, he had taken into account the nine months Ali had spent on remand, that he was a first offender, had four women and 23 children to take care of, and had made historical contributions towards restoration of peace in Uganda. Ali was incarcerated until June 1992.

In 1995 he was appointed 3rd Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities. In 1996 he was elected Member of Parliament. In 1996 he wa appointed 2nd Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Tourism Trade and Industry. In 2000 he was appointed 2nd Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of InternalAffairs. In 2001 he was re-elected Member of Parliament East Moyo Constituency. In 2001 he waw re-appointed 2nd Deputy Prime Minister/Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees in 2003 Promoted to the rank of lieutenant General.
Appointed 1st Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Disaster Preparedness and Refugees. In 2011 he was appointed 3rd Deputy Prime Minister/Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament. In 2012 Promoted to the rank of General.

Museveni has a legal and moral obligation to maintain Moses Ali in his cabinet and flattery army promotions. In 2009, Moses Ali publicly expressed his dissatisfaction in The Observer thus;
"I did not beg for a job, but only reminded the President of the July 1986 Entebbe agreement between the NRA and Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF)."
In that agreement, Ali claimed, the President who had just seized power after his NRA ousted the Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa-led military junta, agreed to guarantee Ali’s UNRF two Cabinet positions – a minister and a deputy minister, all the time.
“Why then am I left out [of government] because I lost elections? The agreement had nothing to do with elections and if the agreement has expired then I should be told,” Ali said. He added: “I did not ask for a job. I reminded the President of the agreement he signed with UNRF. I did not beg for a job.” Moses Ali added that during the CEC meeting, he spoke about the “intrigue” which he said that as an elder, he warned his party to desist from.

in the early 1990s, during the commission of inquiry into human rights violations in Uganda, civilian eye-witnesses told the probe that Ali was among those at the scene of the mass killing of soldiers loyal to president Milton Obote, at an army barracks in Moroto.
Ali admitted in testimony that as a lieutenant in 1971, he had been sent from the Army headquarters in Kampala to Moroto to establish why the Army barracks had not sent a congratulatory message and declared support to the new leadership under Idi Amin.
He denied participating in the killings or torture of soldiers or civilians in Moroto, saying it must have been a case of mistaken identity. If he had not handed over his UNRF to Museveni's NRA, definitely he would have been sent to prison just like it happened with Ali Fashul, Nasur Abudalah and others.

If you think that Nuseveni's branding of Muslims as terrorists started yesterday, think twice because 1990 is 28 years ago when even terrorism had not become a global problem. The truth is that. Museveni feared that Moses Ali with strong Islamic and Libya connections could turn against him. In fact, unlike UFM's Dr. Andrew Kayiira who was killed in 1987, what saved Moses Ali is his being greedy, selfish and opportunistic.


Sunday, 23 September 2018

UGANDA: Why Cheffe Ali never became Museveni's army commander


UNLF - AD was an armed political group that took up arms during the reign of the Military Commission that was deputised by Museveni around 1980. As Minister of Defence in the post Iddi Amin government of Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF), Museveni's efforts to recruit his Banyarwanda into the new national army had been blocked. The civilian government of UNLF was overthrown by the 'men in uniform' together with their foreign backers simply because President Binaisa had transferred both Museveni from the strategic Ministry of Defence to Regional Cooperation and the then Army Chief of Staff, Oyite Ojok appointed as Ambassador to Algeria. President Binaisa was placed under arrest, UNLF dissolved and a Military Commission chaired by Paulo Muwanga and deputised by Museveni took charge of the government.

Some aggrieved top political leaders of the now defunct UNLF opted to wage a guerrilla war against the military junta that was deputised by Museveni. The political figures that came to be known as the Gang of Four took with them Museveni's FRONASA leutenant, Cheffe Ali alias Eriya Mwine and set up camp in the Rwenzori mountains. This was long before the December 1980 general elections in which Museveni was one of the contestants. Until his death, Museveni never forgave Cheffe Ali for having initially abandoned him and joined hands with the Gang of Four for an armed rebellion. By the time Iddi Amin was toppled in 1979, Cheffe Ali had been the most senior of all Museveni's FRONASA combatants. If he had waited and started the war against the Obote II government under Museveni's command, he would obviously have become the NRA's first Army Commander.

It was Cheffe Ali's initiative that saw the NRA guerrillas treck from Luwero to the Rwenzori Mountains in 1984 - 1985. After setting base, Cheffe Ali reactivated his earlier UNLF-AD era contacts in the region. His 11th Battalion overran the government forces at Rubona farm before he initiated talks that saw the first government troops battalion (31st Bn) join hands with the NRA in Fort Portal in July 1985. The following day, the Okellos overthrew the Obote II government. At the fall of Kampala in January 1986, Cheffe Ali's 11th Bn swept through Nakulabye, Makerere Nakasero, fought serious battle around Golf Course before overtaking Summit View on top of Kololo hill.

Despite his minimal academic background, the revolutionary, nationalistic, incorruptible, down-to-earth, politically astute and a military genius, Cheffe Ali only rose to the rank of Brigadier and a figurehead Chief of Staff. Museveni having subjected him to humiliation by Gen. Kaziini who accused him of conniving with Charles Angina to hide guns in the Rwenzori, died a miserable death in a rented house around Rubaga in the late 1990s. His soldiers who joined Museveni's NRA were neutralized, the last one being Brig. Kankiriho who died recently after he was accused of conniving with Gen. Ssejusa to overthrow Museveni.

Like it was the case with other armed groups that had been fighting the Obote II government, Museveni did undermine the operations of UNLF - AD. A one Emmanuel Kafuniza from Ibanda who had been a top mobliser for UNLF - AD narrated a firsthand account of events in The Monitor on June 5, 2016. As you will note, obviously there are some facta that Kafuniza deliberately left out; some combatants deliberately refused to join Museveni in Luwero because they argued that he had been responsible for overthrowing the UNLF government hence the acronym UNLF-AD.

Kafuniza says Binaisa elevated Museveni to the post of Defence minister, and it was in this capacity that one Sunday morning, he came to Kafuniza and Nasasira’s room at International Hotel and asked them to escort him in his Land Rover 110 to Ngoma in Luweero where he was going to see his relatives.

“In Ngoma, we didn’t see any relative of his. I think he wanted us to look at the terrain. I even suspect he could have visited it earlier. On the way back to Kampala, he told us how good the terrain was for an armed struggle,” Kafuniza says.
“The day after their visit to Ngoma, Museveni was transferred from Defence to Regional Corporation. He came to our room and said, ‘did you hear the morning news? Binaisa has removed me from the ministry of Defence and made me a minister for Regional Corporation.’ I said he wants to follow in the footsteps of his predecessor Lule.”
The trio – Museveni, Kafuniza and Nasasira – immediately sought support from members of the 
NCC to reverse Binaisa’s decision.
“We went to Nile Mansions where most ministers were staying, going room to room. We started with Kabwegyere, Kamuntu, Kanyomozi, and others. Later, we went to Republic House to see the army commander, Tito Okello, who assured us that he will support Museveni in reversing Binaisa’s decision. Unfortunately, we lost by seven votes.”
Kafuniza says Binaisa was not acting alone; he was being pushed by some UPC agents.
“We swallowed the bitter pill for our leader at the time, having to leave the strategic position of Defence ministry. However, when we went to Republic House to solicit for Tito Okello’s support, we found buses which had ferried people from the north to be recruited into the army when they had denied access to some members of the Fronasa because of their Rwandan origin,” he says.
Kafuniza says after the transfer of Museveni, it became easier for the architects of his transfer to remove Binaisa.
“With Binaisa gone, the Military Commission took charge. Through Prof [Edward] Rugumayo, we tried to reach Museveni who was in Arusha for him not to join the Military Commission. But we could not,” he recalls.
Soon after the takeover, the Military Commission announced the general election and those who found they didn’t fit in the old parties – UPC, DP and CP – decided otherwise.
“The youth who could not belong to the parties decided to form a new political force, hence the UPM,” Kafuniza says. Its leadership was contested at KCC Hall (KCCA) between Museveni and Akena P’Ojok, but Museveni took it.
Kafuniza explains that people like Yonah Kanyomozi, Ephraim Kamuntu and others were ready to join the new party had Akena P’Ojok been made leader.
When the campaigns started, Kafuniza met with the Gang of Four leaders: Prof Rugumayo as chairman, Dan Nabudere, Yash Tandon and Omwonyo Ojok with Lt Kanyoro and Lt Joseph Nasasira, to forge a way forward.
“We covertly started preparing for an armed struggle. When we met Museveni with our plans, he said ‘while you are doing what you are doing, I don’t support it because the international community will portray us as warmongers. Why don’t we first give democracy a chance?”
But Kafuniza and his group did not wait for the elections, they took up arms.
“I and friends like Brg Chef Ali (RIP), Nasasira and his elder brother Augustine Kayonga, Tadeo Barisanga, and a few others went to Fort Portal and identified Rwenzori Mountains as a safe haven. People like the late William Nyakatura, [David] Rusa now a director in ISO, Balisaliza then headmaster of St Louis Kyegobe, gave us contacts to make a base in Rwenzori Mountain,” Kafuniza says.
“After the elections, Museveni called me to his residence in Makindye. I went with Joseph Nasasira. Museveni was with now Gen Tumwine, [Elly] Kihanda, Sam Magara, Prince Rubereza, Kentoma, Col Napoleon, Col Charles Kitarago and Ahmed Seguya. The nine of us planned the Kabamba attack to be carried out on February 5 [1981].”

“Sam Magara, Ahmed Seguya Kentoma, Col Napoleon, Col Charles Kitarago, Prince Rubereza and now Gen [Elly] Tumwine had just finished training from Munduli.”
After the meeting, Kafuniza says, “Museveni told me ‘It is time to make a way forward. I have briefed my commanders’. He told me to come with Magara and show him our bases in Rwenzori.”
After the meeting, Kafuniza and Nasasira jumped into a Datsun single cabin pick-up, with Magara driving. The late Kentoma, Col Napoleon and Col Kitarago were behind. Magara stayed in Bwizibwera and the rest proceeded to Rugazi Hill, Kafuniza’s home. The next day, they proceeded to their sub-base in Burunga.

“The next morning, we went to our RV [rendezvous] area to wait for Museveni, Rubereza, Magara and group coming from Kampala. They sent a one Kenjura from Rwakitura to deliver an RPG which Museveni had said he had at his home. Museveni had asked us how many guns we had and we told him four guns, six grenades three tortoise and three stick grenades. We were to use it during the attack on Kabamba,” Kafuniza says.
On the February 2, 1981, Kenjura came to deliver the RPG, but unfortunately, it was just an empty propeller.
“We went, seven people to the RV called Kyapakyarumengyere after Rwemiyaga on the evening of [February] 4. The following day, nothing happened. At night we became suspicious, so we changed to another spot to watch what was happening at our RV point,” Kafuniza says. They learnt later that the lorry bringing Museveni and the group had broken down in Masaka.

“When they didn’t show up, I advised my group to return to our sub-base in Burunga where we could better defend ourselves in case of an attack. On our way back to the base on the morning of [February] 6th, we heard anti-tanks. We knew the attack had taken place.”
Having missed out on the action, Kafuniza thought the attackers would follow the agreed plan and head to the Rwenzori Mountains.

“We waited for two months in the areas of Burunga and Ngara until we went to the mountain. They never came. During that time, we hit Lyantonde Police Station and got a G3 which was faulty and 20 rounds of ammunition,” he says.
“We went and hit Ibanda Police Station where I was identified. Two police officers who came with us to our base on my farm in Kiruhura District where others like the late Brig Nkachiroho, late Col Kagezi and the late China, later found us.”

Though Kafuniza and his group recruited more people, they had only six guns, two pistols and six grenades.
“In April 1981, we trekked through Dura Forest to the Rwenzori Mountains. While there, we kept hearing on radio about the raids Museveni’s group was making but with no direct contact. We heard of their raids in Kapeka, Wakiso and other places but they never contacted us, despite knowing where we were.”

In the mountain, UNLF-AD did not stay idle. It carried out raids on targets of interest and recruited fighters. “We hit Bundibugyo and Butuku police stations and amassed up to about 32 guns. We started training and doing political and military training,” he says.
Unfortunately for UNLF-AD, when it went into the bush it was abandoned by their political leaders.
“By July 1982, we could not get any help from our political leadership and our young recruits were disillusioned and hopeless. Some of them thought we had differences with Museveni who was by then making progress in the Luweero triangle. I and other three colleagues on the high command – the late Joseph Nasasira, Augustine Kayonga and Tadeo Barisanga – resolved to provide security for a number of them to go to Luweero.”
Armed with three guns, more that 300 UNLF-AD fighters under the command of Jet Mwebaze left the Rwenzori Mountains to join the Museveni group in Luweero. “With that group gone, we disbanded the camp in the mountains and moved to my farm at Engarishya, where we buried the rest of our guns. We kept three guns and grenades for our protection,” he reveals.
According to Kafuniza, his group was a production line for the NRA in Luweero. After the Jet Mwebaze group, another one of about 200 lead by Chef Ali was also dispatched.
“The few who remained were deployed to work on farms of our supporters,” he says. Those who remained under Kafuniza’s command are the ones who helped in the Fort Portal attack.
“When the NRA moved to the west, Chef Ali came and picked them from my farm at Ngari and they went to Rwenzori where our first base had been. That’s why you hear of the Rwenzori II,” he says.

change of guards

UGANDA: Why Gen. Gutti is not in charge of the army court martial


CHANGE OF GUARDS - “It is regrettable that an instruction of the GCM Chairman Lt. Gen. Gutti was disobeyed by officials at the Military Police Headquarters. As the head of the GCM, he has powers like any other court judge to make a ruling which is binding. Just as he ruled that Kitatta should be detained at Makindye, he has the same power to decide who sees him. It is therefore unfortunate that we have been denied access."

Mufti of Uganda lamenting after he was denied access to visit detained patron of the Boda Boda 2010, Mohammed Kitata at Makindye Military Barracks - last week, Sept 2018.

After being made to wait for over four hours as soldiers consulted their superiors, he was told that access has been denied. The final authority to deny the head of the Islamic faith in the country access to Kitata could only come from Museveni personally.

The so called military courts are Museveni's personal courts. Being the convening authority, Museveni controls the operations of military courts to suit his personal interests. His role in the running of military courts was highlighted in the constitutional petition No. 8 of 2008, Gen. James Kaziini Vs Attorney General. Citing
Regulations 22 and 23 of the UPDF (Rules of Procedure) Regulations S.1. 307-1, he submitted that those provisions are unconstitutional and contravene Article 128 (1) and (2) of the Constitution which guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

"........there was constant interference by the Court Martial convening authority. The rules of the Court Martial say that the court can adjourn and report to the convening authority. So there is a convening authority somewhere which is outside the court. When the court makes a ruling, it reports to this authority for approval. The authority can also decide to dissolve the court. The same authority can meddle in the trial by stopping it and appointing a fresh court to try the accused. This procedure is wrong. This is interference with the court. A court that is not independent can never administer a fair trial."

The Museveni regime indiscriminately associates Muslims with terrorism and the fight against the same vice has been its major bite for western aid and alliance. It has made tremendous efforts in alienating and dividing the Muslim community in Uganda. It considers the Mufti as a Kipingamizi (enemy) for his continued advocacy for fair treatment of Muslims. Addressing mourners during the prayers for the slain police commander, Mohammed Kirumira, the Mufti had this to say; 
"Our colleagues are rotting in jail. They are accused of verbal terrorism, yet others who are arrested with actual guns, are freed from military detention and tried in civil courts. But Kitatta, a civilian is still languishing in military detention. Is that the justice that we have for Muslims?
We want government to treat us fairly; we too are citizens of this land; we demand equal rights.”

During the same occasion, his second deputy Mufti also had this to say;
"The Muslims have been attacked from all angles; these high personnel people who have reached the level of serving the country are the ones being targeted. We need an action program. Prayers will work but we need an action program.”

Earlier in June 2018, in his Idd-el-Fitr sermons, the Mufti had castigated the regime for targeting Muslims thus;
"Government should compensate all Muslims who were arrested and tortured over criminality but were released by the courts. We also ask government to stop always seeing Muslims as the first suspects in every crime that is committed. Muslims are peaceful people,”

Therefore, for Museveni, this persistent advocacy for fair treatment of Muslims by the Mufti and other top leaders of the Islamic faith in Uganda amounts to the politically treasonous offence of incitement. When the opportunity presented itself, he has to be humiliated hence denial of access. In fact the figurehead Chairman of the military court who overstepped his mandate by allowing the Mufti to visit a detainee must have been subjected to serious reprimand.


Friday, 21 September 2018

UGANDA: Museveni's sycophants to watch - Col. Bright Kanyantore Rwamirama


CHANGE OF GUARDS - Col. Bright Kanyontore Rwamirama is Museveni's Minister of State for Defence in-charge of Veteran Affairs. He is a cousin to Museveni's official wife, Janet Museveni. He joined Museveni's Bush War in 1983 after stealing money from Uganda Commercial Bank (UCB) Rukungiri branch where he worked as a cashier. In the bush, he was not involved in combat but continued to manage finance.

When the NRA took over in 1986, he was made the O.C Pay under the Directorate of Finance. He was responsible for soldiers' salaries. He rose through the ranks to become the Director of Finance. (DF). His unit was responsible for all the theft of taxpayers money through bogus expenditures, fake claims and creation of ghost soldiers. Consequently, he became one of the richest army officers.

He enjoyed Museveni's protection, courtesy of his family links with the wife. Around the late 1990s, he was arrested over embezzlement of funds but in order to save him, Museveni ordered that he be tried in a civilian court at Buganda Road. Obviously this was a service offence that ought to have been handled by the army courts. During the 2001 election campaigns, Museveni boasted during a live radio program that he was determined to fight corruption since he had not even favoured his own relative, Bright Rwamirama. As usual, gullible Ugandans believed him and soon after they were in for a big surprise. Museveni ordered the army not to cooperate with the civilian court and the matter was dismissed.

During the 2003 probe committee on creation of Ghost Soldiers, former Army Commander Gen. Kaziini disclosed that as DF, Bright Rwamirama had a monthly balance of 1.9b shillings. That he would withhold information from the Treasury pertaining to reduction in strength as a result of deaths and desertions. Instead the Treasury continued to remit the same wage bill thus the balance. He said;

" much money was verified and paid out to soldiers and how much money came out of the Treasury, which left behind a balance of 1.9 billion shillings officially.
COMMITTEE: What you are saying is that because names are not declared, whether deserters or dead, the Treasury keeps remitting money every month which is known?
KAZINI: By the Director of Finance and Permanent Secretary."

The war torn northern Uganda based 4th Division was the cradle of the Ghost Soldiers. Its Finance Officer, Lt. Osele was mysteriously killed after it was revealed that he had always been remitting 400m shillings to his boss, Bright Rwamirama every month. Gen. Kaziini told the committee thus;
"They found ghosts in 1996, and you remember one paymaster (Lt. Osele) killed himself because he was cornered. He was sending Shs 400m to the Director of Finance, Maj. Bright Rwamirama, at that time every month, even more."

Around 2008 before the Constitutional Court, while challenging his trial before the Court Martial, Gen. Kaziini decried the discriminatory treatment. He cited the case of Bright Rwamirama who had previously committed a service offence but was instead indicted before a civilian court. At that time, Bright Rwamirama had already retired from the army and was now a Cabinet Minister.

In 2016, Museveni added the docket of Veteran Affairs to the Ministry of Defence and appointed Bright Rwamirama as the Minister of State for Defence in-charge of Veteran Affairs. The Veterans docket attracts and is strategic in that it involves a lot of political mobilisation and project funding. The cash greedy Bright Rwamirama landed on the right spot. In May 2016, his son, Mwine Mpaka contested and won the parliamentary Youth for western region. The violent contest saw Gen. Tumukunde shot in the leg before his son lost to Mwine Mpaka. In a 2017, parliamentary committee audit query revealed that he had illegally received 80m from the Ministry of Labour as Workman's Compensation for a minor accident. Yet, as a cabinet Minister and more so an M.P he was on a medical insurance scheme by the Parliamentary Commission.

The Minister of Defence is Adolf Mwesige who is a civilian and not knowledgeable in security matters. He had been the Secretary General of PAFO which had merged with the Reform Agenda to give rise to the opposition FDC. His deputy is Col (Rtd) Charles Okello who had been the artillery commander during Museveni's Congo military expedition in the late 1990s. Upon retirement he had ventured into politics becoming the M.P for Oyam county. During an interview with The Monitor on July 22, 2014, he expressed his dissatisfaction thus;
"Many people have been given medals for their contribution to development in this country. Can you imagine and nobody thinks about me?”

In 2016, Museveni appointed him Minister of State for Defence and structurally deputises the Minister of Defence.

For those versed with Museveni's method of work which is mostly characterized by sectarian considerations, Adolf Mwesigye and Col. Charles Okello are just figureheads at the Ministry of Defence. With the Permanent Secretary Rosette Byengoma, Col. Bright Rwamirama is the Minister of Defence. That is why he dominates most of the defense and security undertakings. When he is not on different radio and TV stations carrying out army propaganda, he is either accompaying Museveni to Mozambique or running security errands with the Egyptians, Belarus, South Africans, Japanese, French and others. He is the one who makes Ministry of Defence statements, tables and defends classified defence budgets in Parliament. It is for this reason that sometimes Museveni convenes security meetings attended by both Rwamirama and his boss, Adolf Mwesige.

Just forget about Adolf Mwesige and Col. Charles Okello Engola, Col. Bright Rwamirama is in charge of the Defence docket.


Tuesday, 18 September 2018

UGANDA: When Museveni's 'professional' army steals from even helpless animals


“Today I have witnessed something very sad in Ishasha, whoever is around Ishasha find out you will confirm that UPDF soldiers have chased the Lions off their prey and took the whole of it to their barracks for food. These two male lions fought and killed their Buffalo and these hungry guys just came and took it."
A Tour Guide in Queen Elizabeth National Park narrating to Nile Post - Sept 13, 2018
“It's true, we have been around and all our clients are annoyed but only saying that the authorities have to do something” said another safari guide on the site.
Another person who is based in the area said “it happens all the time” However, the army Spokesman, Brig. Karemire refuted the claims thus;
“The UPDF is taking good care of the welfare of its soldiers including timely provision of rations,” army spokesperson, Richard Karemire told Nile Post.
Benedict Ntale, Vice chairman of the Association of Uganda Tour Operators (AUTO) told Nile Post that;
“Lions take days without catching game because they are not strategic runners but hunters. If they take three days to kill and then their kill is taken away, they may starve or start going for domestic hunts where they could be targeted and poisoned, leading to death. When animals get frustrated they start migrating; they can cross over. Animals stay around a place where they can feed and hold territory."
Ishasha Sector is at the border with DRC in Kanungu district and is famous for the tree-climbing lions. Unfortunately, this incident like all the previous ones will be swept under the carpet yet it greatly affects tourism. Obviously, much as the welfare of the soldiers is lacking, it is impunity at play here. The same soldiers have been ambushing DRC bound traders passing through Ishasha. The latest incident was a few weeks ago where they were shot and injured, robbed and kidnapped from a nearby army detachment.

Here below we reproduce one among the several incidents where Museveni's deployment of his soldiers to wildlife conservation has proved disastrous.

Change of Guards
February 16, 2015

In November 2014 the Minister of Tourism sent on leave Dr. Andrew Sseguya - the Executive Director(ED) of Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) to pave way for investigations into theft of over a ton of ivory from UWA's strong rooms. Also suspended were other five junior employees of UWA. It was also reported that Museveni had tasked the Inspector General of Government (IGG) to investigate the matter. In the letter, the Minister of Tourism also asked the army to recall the two army senior officers who had been in charge of UWA's security and law enforcement unit who were suspects.

This site gave an analysis of the saga in a piece titled: TON OF IVORY STOLEN IN UGANDA - FRUITS OF MILITARISATION!!!! (dated 19/11/2014).
Dr. Andrew Seguya maintained his innocence saying that he was simply taking his leave to wait for the outcome of the investigations since he had been the one who initiated the audit that unearthed the missing ivory. From the start, the IGG was not comfortable with Dr. Seguya's suspension when she stated that she had not been so familiar with Dr. Seguya's exit and that she was yet to study the process through which Dr. Seguya was ordered out of office. The army defied the Minister's order to recall the two Senior army officers.

On 14th January 2015, the IGG wrote to the Minister of Tourism claiming that Dr. Seguya had been sent on leave without following the Human Resource Manuals of both the Ministry and the wildlife agency. She further argued that she she could not thoroughly carry out the investigations without Dr. Seguya being in office. The Minister of Tourism accordingly reinstated Dr. Seguya as the Executive Director. Given the vested interest Museveni has in UWA, he must have been the one who approved Dr. Seguya's reinstatement.

Just a week after Dr. Seguya had resumed office, 791kgs of ivory and 2029kgs of Pangolin scales were intercepted at Entebbe Airport. The consignment had been declared as communication equipment belonging to MTN destined for Denmark for repairs. Out of the 136 pieces (791kgs) of ivory, three pieces bore the UWA markings implying that they had originated from the UWA stocks. Initially, an ENHAS cargo handler and the clearing agent were arrested by the Police. Shortly after the driver of the truck that transported the contraband wildlife trophies led the Police to a warehouse in Kampala where the packaging had taken place. From that warehouse, a weighing scale and tools for cutting the ivory pieces into shape were recovered.

Behind the ivory saga is a sophisticated, well connected and dangerous gang of criminal syndicate that is determined to halt any efforts to get to the bottom of the matter. The syndicate is composed of the so called UWA law enforcement (composed of army officers), the Police, the notorious Kireka based SIU. In May 2014 Custom authorities at Entebbe airport impounded 35 Rhino horns and 22 pieces of Elephant tusks. UWA law enforcement (Army and Rangers) connived with the Airport Police to steal two pieces of Rhino horns. They crafted fake rhino horns to put in place for the genuine ones. After selling them they disagreed on how to share the proceeds. Their colleague who had helped with the crafting of the fake rhino horns opted to spill the beans.

The thief-turned whistle blower revealed how he had helped craft the two fake rhino horns and how he had procured duplicate keys for the UWA ivory strong room. He went ahead to say how the syndicate composed of both the army officers and UWA Rangers, they had accessed the strong room past midnight and loaded ivory. That it was the top army officer who communicated to the guard on duty to allow the entry, removal and loading of ivory into a waiting NOAH van. Following these shocking revelations, a twenty page report was compiled and handed over to the ED on 22nd September 2014. The ED ordered for an audit of the stores that revealed a deficit of 1355kgs of ivory that was around November 2014 reported to have been stolen. It is on the basis of this audit report that Dr. Seguya maintains his innocence.

At the start of February 2014, a junior staff member of UWA Lance Corporal Evaristo Seete was shot dead by SIU personnel from his home in Kyebando, Kampala. The murder was to break the chain of evidence since the deceased had been one of the guards to the strong room. Police claimed that the deceased had shot himself dead after they had closed in on him in a bi d to have him arrested since he was one of the five they had been hunting for to help with investigations into ivory theft.

The Police further confirmed that they had so far arrested seven other suspects who had revealed that the ivory had been stolen with the connivance of both UWA and the army personnel. Had the deceased been on the run? If so, why hide at his residence? If he committed suicide, how did the gun end up at his private residence?

New Vision's celebrated CNN Award winning environmental Journalist Gerald Tenywa has for over a decade covered conservation related issues and in particular wildlife in Uganda. Since the ivory saga, he has consistently kept the public posted with developments surrounding the ivory saga. Following the murder of the witness Ranger, Gerald Tenywa was next on the hit list. He faced direct and indirect threats from strangers and had to report to the Police. Indeed if the syndicate can succeed to either silence or compromise Gerald Tenywa, that will be the end of the Ivory saga in public domain.

There is no doubt the regime is providing a cover up in the whole ivory saga. No one has been arrested and produced in court in-spite of the available evidence and the 48 hours constitutional requirement. Museveni's choice of the IGG to handle the investigations was driven by her incapacity to handle the highly placed senior Army Officer involved in the theft of ivory. Col. Charles Tusiime is one of the original 27 who attacked Kabamba in 1981 to launch the bush war that brought Museveni to power. Implicating Col Tusiime has the negative effect of demonstrating how the army officers seconded to civilian institutions are a disaster.

To get a compromise for Col Tusiime being left off the hook, Dr. Seguya had to be reinstated. Wildlife conservation attracts huge chunks of donor funding, and Museveni wanted to be seen to be taking action lest he risked the much needed donor cash. It can be said that that there is no investigations going on over the ivory theft and with murders now taking the center stage, the beneficiaries can enjoy their multi-billion loot.

With the sophistication of such organised criminal syndicates that are enjoying state protection, the gold reserves in the central Bank of Uganda (BOU) are not safe.
"Isolated incidents" indeed.


Saturday, 15 September 2018

UGANDA: What Museveni's next merger of his regime agencies will look like


“Electoral Commission is full of rotten people I am going to get rid of them. Why should we suffer from corrupt election officials when NRM has got so much manpower? They should be out, get out."

Museveni addressing the National Women's Council conference in Kampala - late August 2018.

The Electoral Commission is a creature of the constitution and is supposed to be independent. The threats by Museveni insinuate the EC is under his control and direction. The NRM manpower he is talking about are his regime functionaries, cadres, security officials, kinsmen and friends.

In the same regard, Uganda's military dictator has this week issued a decree merging different regime agencies and commissions. The move is meant to sneak "his people" into the mainstream public service through the back door. When he created the agencies and commissions he was aiming at circumventing the laid down recruitment procedures into the public service for "his people" who have been dominating these agencies. He aimed at undermining and maligning their mother Ministries while he macro managed public service and had free access to diversion of public resources for his  personal use.

He has now decreed a merger of these agencies which enjoyed unclear recruitment, promotion and remuneration criteria. Unlike the mainstream public service whose staff are permanent and pensionable, the staff of these entities served on renewable contract basis mostly not more than four years. He is now sneaking "his people" into the mainstream public service through the back door, most of whom would not have made it if they were to be subjected to the Public Service Commission for recruitment.

At this rate, next time we shall witness a merger of the following entities:
1. The Judiciary and DPP merging under the army Court Martial.

2. Ministry of Health merged with Funeral Services and cemeteries.

3. Parliament merged with the Army Council.

4. Police and Prison Services formally merged with the Army and eventually placed under his elite SFC.

5. Ministry of Finance and the Tax body (URA) merged and placed under State House Comptroller.

6. Uganda Communications Commission (UCC), Immigration Services, National ID to be merged under Military Intelligence (CMI) and Internal Security (ISO).

7. The Christian faith to be forcefully merged with the Islamic faith under his favoured Pentecostals.

8. The institution of Traditional Leaders to be merged with the Traditional Healers, herbalists and witches.

9. The opposition and CSO to be merged with rebel LRA, ADF and others.