Saleh Brokered Sejusa Return Deal

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In short
The initial deal for his return involved the general denouncing opposition to the state and providing a list of people he has been in contact with for the duration of his stay in London, a source familiar with the matter said.
The deal was rejected by Sejusa, who wanted to be retired from the army and left to have full participation in the road to the 2016 under his newly founded party, The Free Uganda Front.

Details are gradually emerging of a closely knit agreement brokered by UK diplomats and senior army officers to facilitate the return of General David Sejusa to Uganda.

Sejusa who failed to return to the country in April 2013 fearing what he termed an ‘imminent arrest' by security agencies, made a silent return to the country on Sunday morning at 3;20 am aboard a British Airways flight. Contrary to the deployment at his earlier planned return, only the ISO director Ronnie Balya and a pickup of anti-riot police were at the airport at the time he returned.

Sejusa exiled himself after releasing a dossier claiming that President Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son to be Uganda's next leader and that anyone opposed to Museveni's succession plan risked being killed. A former close ally of the President, Sejusa suddenly became critical of the rapid promotion within the army of the first son, who is now a brigadier-general in charge of Special Forces.

During his exile, Sejusa spoke of Ugandans being "hostages" to a "family clique".

But analysts say that the deal for Sejusa's return may have been partly motivated by a wish on the part of the government to stop such a senior figure from joining the opposition.

"He negotiated his return. The government facilitated him with a ticket and for now we consider him a free man," Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo is quoted by the BBC.

From different circles, sources are slowly piecing together what may have been a surrender of an army position for Sejusa to return home. Earlier, the army had fully deployed to arrest General David Sejusa on alleged charges of treason and desertion - which charges have seemingly been dropped.

As a close source has intimated, Sejusa's return was initially brokered by the head of the veteran's league in the army Gen. Saleh following a request made by the renegade general to return to the country to pay last respects for his father - Simon Bwajojo who died two months ago.

"The initial deal for his return involved the general denouncing opposition to the state and providing a list of people he has been in contact with for the duration of his stay in London," a source familiar with the matter said.

The deal was rejected by Sejusa who wanted to be retired from the army and left to have full participation in the road to the 2016 polls under his newly founded party - The Free Uganda Front, the source adds.

When that failed, Saleh tried convincing Museveni, his brother, to accept the general back into the country but keep him in the army fold. This, it is believed to be the deal that was accepted by the President.
 
When URN contacted Saleh with the details, he declined to comment saying what mattered most was that Sejusa was back into the country.

Saleh has also been neatly weaving a plan to have the old folks of the army retire and carry on with the wealth creation program that he has been heading.

At a recent function to decorate promoted Air Force officers, Saleh said he had been having back and forth negotiations with the president to retire officers who had grown old within the army and re-integrate them into the wealth creation program.

Sejusa, who is now in Kampala, has however refused to comment on a supposed deal between him and the state. It is however clear, from the withdrawal of charges against him by the army, that a semblance of a deal was made.

Sejusa's pressure group leader Professor Omara Otunnu had earlier told the Daily Monitor in an interview that the Renegade general had communicated to the party that he had started negotiations with a team of people from Government on his return into the country.

Police Spokesperson Fred Enanga told URN that the police had received no orders or a file to arrest him which contradicts an earlier position given by the army spokesperson Paddy Ankunda that the army will arrest Sejusa for desertion and treason charges.

 

About the author

Raymond Mujuni
Raymond Mujuni is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Mujuni has been a URN staff member since 2013.

Presently a Law student at Makerere University, Kampala, Mujuni started out as a freelancer for URN in 2012.

Mujuni is an investigative journalist, especially interested in Security, Science and Technology. An avid sports fan, Mujuni volunteers with the charity organisation 40 Days/40 Smiles.