President Yoweri Museveni has reshuffled the top army leadership replacing both the Chief of Defence Forces CDF General Katumba Wamala and his deputy, Lieutenant-General Charles Angina. The new CDF is General David Muhoozi, his deputy is Lieutenant-General Wilson Mbadi.
The new CDF is David Muhoozi, who has been promoted from the rank of Lieutenant-General to General. Muhoozi, 52, was until the latest changes Commander of the Land Forces in the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF).
Major-General Wilson Mbadi has been promoted to Lieutenant-General and appointed Deputy Chief of Defence Forces. Mbadi, who served for a long time as Museveni's chief body guard, has been Joint Chief of Staff.
Also replaced is Major-General Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Commander of Special Forces Command (SFC), who has been appointed senior presidential advisor, special operations. He is replaced by Don Nabasa who has been promoted to colonel.
Katumba has been appointed State Minister for Works, while Angina becomes Deputy Commander of Operation Wealth Creation (OWC), a position that fell vacant following the death of Major General Julius Oketta in November last year. Maj Gen Nakibus Lakara, who has been acting Deputy Commander OWC since the death of Oketta, goes back to army headquarters for redeployment.
Commenting on the reshuffle, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, the UPDF spokesperson tweeted that "changes are normal and good for institutional growth. General Muhoozi is the new CDF for UPDF."
In what is likely to attract public scrutiny, Second Division Commander Brigadier Peter Elwelu, the man at the heart of the November 27 raid on Rwenzururu Kingdom palace, has been promoted to Major-General and appointed Land Forces commander.
There has been calls for Elwelu to be investigated over the manner he commanded the forces that raided Omusinga Charles Wesley Mumbere's palace and arrested him and at least 150 of his supporters. More than 100 people died during the raid.
In other changes, Brig Sam Okiding who has been commanding UPDF in Somalia has been promoted to Major General and remains Commander Field Artillery division that he commanded before going to Somalia.
Brigadier Charles Bakahumura, who has been the Director of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, is now Chief of Logistics and Engineering. He is replaced by Lieutenant Colonel Abel Kandiho who has been promoted to Colonel.
Major General Sam Turyagenda, who has been the Commander Air Forces, is appointed Senior Presidential Advisor on Air Force matters. In his place as Air Force Commander comes Charles Lwanga Lutaaya who has been his deputy. Lutaaya is also promoted to Major-General.
Brigadier Gavas Mugyenyi has been promoted to Major General and remains in command of Air Defence Division.
In the radio message released last night, General Katumba has been sent to the Ministry of Works as a State Minister. If he takes the new assignment, Katumba will be filling the position that has been vacant since June last year when Parliament declined to endorse the appointment of Kanyumu County MP Ismail Orot.
It is not the first time the commander of the army is appointed to cabinet after being reshuffled. In 1998, President Museveni dropped his long-time army Commander Major-General Mugisha Muntu and appointed him a cabinet minister. Muntu however declined the new assignment and opted to go into retirement, ending up in opposition. He is the president of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) party.
In 2001, another army reshuffle saw General Jeje Odong, who had replaced Muntu in 1998, dropped and appointed state minister for Environment. It is only Major General James Kazini who was never appointed to cabinet when he was dropped in 2003. In 2013, Museveni dropped the then CDF, General Aronda Nyakairima and appointed him Minister of Internal Affairs. Aronda died in September 2015 while still a minister.
At 60, the curtain appears to be falling on General Katumba's illustrious career, having joined the army in 1979. He has served in different positions including as 4th division commander, Inspector General of Police from 2001 to 2005, Commander Land Forces from 2005 to 2013 and CDF from 2013 till the latest changes.