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Politics

When old timers exit to pave the way for “new CiC” Muhoozi

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By Moses Ssejjoba

President Museveni earlier this week held a reception in honor of a group of Generals within Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) who have been discharged from military service.

The group include many that were with Museveni when they shot to power in 1986, through his National Resistance Army (NRA). Most have been known to be members of the clique of a few feared generals hailing mainly from Western Uganda. Now for people who have served in the armed forces for between 30 and over 40 years, it is nothing unusual to step down to make way for a new generation of officers.

The problem however is the timing and other circumstances that have been playing out in our country’s political landscape that have many Ugandans questioning the motive. The mass retirement of these seasoned officers comes on the heels of what has been seen by analysts as part of a calculated, systematic unveiling of Museveni’s own son, Lt. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba.

Over the past year at least 30 Generals have been retired from UPDF. All the realignment in the security forces that we have seen in the past few months can be seen as part of the move to strengthen Muhoozi’s position – not just in the military but also in the larger political landscape.

Seen in that context therefore, the “Bush War Generals” – who have witnessed Muhoozi meteorically rise in unprecedented ways – are being edged out to pave way for the Crown Prince and his group. This group, most of whom, if not all owe their military ranks to Muhoozi, has now been strategically placed in different command positions in different services of the security forces.

You will find them in the artillery units, the air force, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, not to mention the powerful Special Forces Command to which he the crown prince remains the patron. The same people are also senior command positions in Uganda Police Force, which explains his father’s continued militarization of the police service.

You will also find them in quasi-military outfits like the Internal Security Organisation and External Security Organisation. According to our analysts, the purging of these Bush War Generals was necessary for Museveni to consolidate his son as the de facto leader within the armed ranks.

The other prism within which to see this is the fact that those who have previously openly shown disdain towards this well-orchestrated sinister plot have been denied retirement, despite the fact that they openly asked for it. General David Sejjusa, formerly Tinyefunza, has for years requested to be decommissioned but Museveni has refused, and indeed he is not part of the latest group despite not having been active since his return from a brief exile in late 2014.

One would say this is a contradiction. Logically with the grand plan in motion, Museveni would wish Tinyefunza and his ilk far from the military to be able to continue with the scheme to position his son as the future commander-in-chief. However, our analyst who is well appraised of the goings-on both at Combo (UPDF headquarters) and State House has an explanation for this.

“People like Tinyefunza are best kept in check with the leash of military service tightly around their neck, for while still in service, he cannot jeopardize this plan of which he has enough information due to his previous position.

“And remember his open spat with Museveni came about because of his defiance of the so-called Muhoozi Project for which he penned the now well known Sejjusa missive. He can do more harm once discharged,” our inside source added.

While they remain in service, Sejjusa and others like him have no power to sabotage the grand plan, because they have for years been on what here in Uganda is known as Katebe – basically in the peripheries.

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