CDF Aronda Attacks General Sejusa Over Media Comments

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In short
For the second time in three months, Sejusa, the Coordinator of Security and Intelligence Services, has written a missive that appears to be disagreeing with the official position of the army. He says the March 4 attack on Mbuya barracks was stage-managed by some army officers. But in a statement emailed to media houses this afternoon, the Chief of Defense Forces General (CDF) Aronda Nyakairima describes Sejusa’s comments false and misleading.

The Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) has issued a statement attacking one of its own, General David Sejusa commonly known as Tinyefuza, over his comments in the media.
 
For the second time in three months, Sejusa, the Coordinator of Intelligence Services, has written a missive that appears to be disagreeing with the official position of the army. The Daily Monitor edition of today May 7 quotes Sejusa as saying the Internal Security Organisation should investigate claims that government officials including the head of police may have planned to assassinate, or frame other government officials.
 
The paper quotes Sejusa’s letter that the General reportedly wrote on April 29 and addressed it to President Yoweri Museveni through the Director General of the Internal Security Organisation (DGISO).
 
Sejusa was quoted as saying he delivered a message to the President in which he highlighted Intelligence concerns about likely consequences of what the public has dubbed the “Muhoozi project”. Muhoozi project is a term coined by Museveni’s opponents and some political observers who accuse the president of manipulating the political process as he grooms his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, to succeed him. Sejusa says the issue is becoming divisive and creating fertile ground for causing intrigue especially in the UPDF.
 
The comments come just two days after another senior army officer, Brigadier Kasirye Ggwanga, told the media that it would be dangerous for the president to try and front his son to succeed him.
 
In the same document, Sejusa is quoted as saying that the so called “Mbuya Barracks attack” in March this year was conducted by some senior UPDF officers. On the morning of March 4, gunmen attacked Mbuya barracks and attempted to disarm a soldier on guard duty. At least one of the attackers was killed during the fire fight and three others were later arrested and charged before the General Court Martial.

But in a statement emailed to media houses this afternoon, the Chief of Defense Forces General (CDF) Aronda Nyakairima describes Sejusa’s comments as false and misleading. Aronda says claims by Sejusa that he delivered a message to President Museveni through DGISO are untrue.
 
The CDF says as head of the Army he is not aware of such concerns neither does the Intelligence Community.  Aronda says it is out of procedure for the Coordinator of Intelligence Services to communicate to his appointing authority who is the President and Commander-In-Chief through his subordinate. 
 
He accuses Sejusa of operating outside the law, and that the controversial General’s statements are aimed at tarnishing the good image of the UPDF and creating the impression that it is not cohesive.
 
Sejusa, who is no stranger to controversy, issued a similarly stinging statement in February this year, when he warned people against agitating for a military coup. The statement came after President Museveni, CDF Aronda and Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga warned what they called “irresponsible” political leaders that the army would be forced to intervene and restore order.
 
In 1997, Sejusa, then still called Tinyefuza, tried to force his way out of the army but he was blocked. He went to court, wining at the High Court but losing after the state appealed.
 
Now Aronda says that Gen Sejusa, as a serving army officer, should be aware that all officers and militants of UPDF are subject to military law. The statement he allegedly issued therefore not only contravenes the law but also contradicts that of President issued to the media earlier.
 
According to theUPDF Act 2005, a member of the Defence Forces needs to get authorisation from their superiors before making public statements to journalists. 
 
Just two weeks ago, Brigadier Henry Tumukunde, the former Director ISO, was sentenced to a severe reprimand after a marathon trial that lasted over eight years. He was accused of promoting harmful propaganda and acting in a manner contrary to the good order in the army. He was acquitted of the first charge.

 

About the author

Wilson Akiiki Kaija
Wilson Akiiki Kaija is is a URN editor and media trainer with 12 years’ experience as a journalist, and producer. He joined URN in April 2011 as a News Editor, before moving on to head the Training Department towards the end of 2014. He is in charge of coordinating URN’s internship and mid-career training programmes.


He has previously worked as a Senior Journalism Trainer for the BBC Media Action where he coordinated training and mentoring programme in Uganda. Between 2004 and 2007, Wilson managed and directed programming at Kyoga Veritas Radio, a community radio station based in Soroti, Uganda.