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PICTURES: Why the doubt; the army brought and has kept Museveni in power

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Gullible Ugandans are up in arms over the recent remarks that were made by a Minister, Evelyn Anitte to the effect that the Museveni regime derives its strength from the army. She said; “…. we don’t go looking for support. We are the party in government. We have the support of the Magye (army).” This was following a threat by some Members of parliament to block the regime’s scheme to remove the constitutional age limit that would allow Museveni to rule Uganda till he dies.  The army has come out to disassociate itself from Hon. Anitte’s statement. Through its Spokesman, the army has said; “…. the UPDF has established structures and then MPs through whom it can make its views known when necessary.  The UPDF shall always remain non-partisan as per the Constitution.”

In January 2013 amidst the heated parliamentary debates over Museveni’s secretive oil sector, the then Minister of Defence, Cryspus Kiyonga threatened that the army would take over in case of a political stalemate. He said that the army was watching and that if there was a possibility it could reassert itself should the politicians continue not showing seriousness in that they can solve the country’s problems. Shortly after, Museveni convened the regime MPs caucus retreat at Kyankwanzi where he re-echoed his Defence Minister’s earlier threats.

He said; “…. if this confusion in Parliament persists, the military would not allow it.” A few days later on 23rd January 2013 the then army chief, Gen. Aronda addressed the press at the army headquarters at Mbuya in Kampala. He made it categorically clear that; “…. the message was deliberately sent out. I can’t do more than what they (Museveni and Kiyonga) said. The message was well taken for those who it was intended. Stand warned. Stand advised. Should you not change course, other things may be brought into play.”

The opposition and Ugandans in general vehemently protested over the army chief’s treasonous utterances. Through Caleb Alaka & Co. Advocates, the Woman M.P for Luwero, Brenda Nabukenya instituted private prosecutions of three counts of treason against Gen. Aronda before the Chief Magistrate’s Court at Nakawa. Around mid February 2013 the then Chief Magistrate at Nakawa Court, Joyce Kabagye dismissed the application for private prosecution. She argued; “……the complaint on oath, the charge sheet, and Criminal Summons prepared were incompetent before court.”

The ‘learned’ Chief Magistrate went ahead to contend that a trial by private prosecutions is supposed to be instituted in the area where the accused person resides unlike in ordinary criminal matters by the DPP where criminal proceedings are instituted in the area where a crime was committed. Ridiculous as the ruling was, the applicants lost interest in the matter and thus did not pursue it further.

In May 2013, Museveni appointed Gen. Aronda as Minister of Internal Affairs while still in active military service. The Parliamentary Appointments Committee approved his appointment with majority 13 to 6 MPs. The opposition Members of Parliament and Ugandans in general vehemently but helplessly protested his appointment. Lawyer, Ezron Kiiza petitioned the Constitutional Court in June 2013.  The Attorney General filed a Defence in October 2013 whereby he argued that Gen. Aronda’s “appointment was to serve the government and not the political party because a Ministerial position was not a political office.”

Kalungu Member of Parliament, Joseph Ssewungu and the then Bukomansinbi Woman M.P, Susan Namaganda also filed a separate petition over the matter in the same court. The matter was last heard about in November 2013 when the Registrar of the Constitutional Court, John Arutu disclosed that the earliest the matter was to be heard would have been February 2014 after court had come out of recess in January and that was the end of the matter.

Around July 2013 Museveni had met the Appointments Committee of Parliament twice to coarse them into approving Gen. Aronda’s appointment. During such meetings, he relied on the legal opinion of the Attorney General, Peter Nyombi and the army’s Deputy Director of Legal Services, Col. Kagoro Asingura. The latter had opined that in order for Museveni to prevent “any subversive utterances by negative forces (opposition)”, Gen. Aronda could have been granted leave of absence from the army. That way he would have ceased to hold any active duties but retain his status as an officer. He further suggested that alternatively he could have applied S.38 of the UPDF Act to treat Aronda’s appointment as a “secondment” from the army.

In one of such meetings on June 28th, Museveni had told the Speaker that Gen. Aronda would not retire from the army. He went further to reveal that he had based his appointment of Aronda as Minister based on his knowledge of the National ID Card project since he had already been involved with it as army chief. Earlier on, in May 2010 parliament forced Gen. Jeje Odong to retire from active military service before his appointment as Minister of State for Defence could be approved.

The more independent Parliament at the time even threatened not to pass the Ministry of Defence budget if the issue was not resolved. Since Museveni was not interested in having Gen. Jj Odong remain in active service, he gave in and the former was retired. When it came to Gen. Aronda, he shifted the goal posts. Museveni told the committee that Gen. Jeje Odong’s resignation had been a “mistake” and that he shouldn’t have resigned from the army. In September 2013 Museveni appointed Gen. Aronda and Col. Kasura to head the committee that was to draft the Constitution for the East African Community political federation and were supposed to report back by April 2014.

Having accomplished the privatisation of the army, Gen. Aronda had gone ahead to implement Museveni’s grand scheme of militarising the police. Police Special Squads attended military training in military camps, army officers took up strategic positions in the police, millions of regime militias were recruited, and he took over the preparation of the Voter Register. Consequently, by the time of the February 2016 polls, the army had taken over the entire election process. Museveni had tactfully retired Gen. Henry Tumukunde and put him in charge of the election rigging. During the February 2016 polls the army took over, Museveni was declared the winner as opposition leaders were kidnapped and incarcerated.

The army’s role in politics is historical. Museveni came to power in a military takeover 31 years ago.  The status quo has remained so to this date. Museveni sends ten army representatives to Parliament. They are not supposed to contribute to debates on the floor of Parliament but are only required to don military uniform in the house as a reminder to the rest of the members that it’s the army that is in Charge. The Chairman of the Army MP’s parliamentary caucus, Gen. Tumwine who has represented the army for the last 30 years put it very clear thus; “the army MPs are the listening posts, eyes and ears in the house. The army position can be communicated by one officer.”

In 2005, then army MP, Col. Fred Bogere abstained from voting on the lifting of the presidential term limits and he was castigated and sidelined. What saved him is that he had been wise enough to have sneaked back to school and studied law and recently he retired from a one decade Katebe (inactive military service). Former presidential contestant, Gen. Benin Biraro made it categorically clear that the army should not be in parliament. The army representation in parliament became a subject of court proceedings in Brig. Tumukunde and Attorney General, Supreme Court Justice, Kanyeihamba observed that continued membership of security forces severely restricts one’s ability to perform as an ordinary M.P. “In my view, this unattainable dual role of the UPDF members of Parliament ought to be revisited again by this nation.”

In September 2015, at Mt. Lebanon Church in Mukono Municipality, the then army chief, Gen. Katumba Wamala warned politicians during the Presidential elections campaigns. He said; “…. some politicians have started using threatening statements in a bid to incite violence and cause turmoil during the 2016 elections but the army will deal with them appropriately and they will be crashed.”  He went ahead to urge Ugandans to “vote wisely” during the Presidential elections, saying that “some politicians are liars who just want to satisfy their ambitions.”  He urged Born Again churches to join the government programme of Operation Wealth Creation in order for them to improve their standards of living.

Gen. Katumba Wamala contributed 5.5M shillings towards the Church SACCO. Obviously, it’s Museveni who had directed Gen. Katumba to make that statement in order to intimidate the voters. Indeed, during the polls, the military took over and Museveni was announced the winner as leaders of the opposition were kidnapped and incarcerated. As a reward, in February 2017 Museveni appointed Gen. Katumba Wamala as Minister of State for Works. Two Ugandans, Deusdat Bwengye and Robert Mugisha petitioned the Constitutional Court to no avail because a precedent had been set by the appointment of Gen. Aronda. Many army officers have taken up civilian positions under different departments and very soon full militarisation is to be realised.

In 1996, during the Presidential elections campaigns, Museveni made it clear that he would not just hand over power to anybody even if they won the elections. Gen. Ssejusa reinforced him by declaring that he too would not salute Dr. Ssemogerere if he was to win the elections. On 14th January 2015, in Rukiga county, Museveni publicly stated that he won’t hand over power as long as he was still energetic and has control of the army. The then Army Spokesman, Col. Felix Kulaigye reinforced that assertion thus; “And I want to say this, if you threaten the constitution of Uganda, then the military has to take over. It is our obligation as the military to protect and restore the Constitution of this country; in that we shall not watch people threatening the Constitution.”

On 9th February 2014, during a regime MPs retreat at Kyankwanzi, the then Youth MP, Evelyn Anitte danced, chanted prises, knelt and begged for Museveni to be declared the sole candidate for the February 2016 polls. She had been sent by Museveni to do so because two days earlier on 6th February Museveni had appointed her husband, Allan Kajik as the Deputy RDC for Kampala Central. Her father, Steven Dravu had been one of the GISOs under Arua District. As a sole candidate, when Museveni declared himself President following the February 2016 sham elections, he rewarded Anitte with the Ministerial position of State for Investment. Therefore, unlike in the past where the army has come out directly to threaten a takeover in favour of Museveni, this time around, Museveni opted to send the message through Evelyn Anitte. Regardless of the messenger, as Gen. Aronda once put it; “…the message was deliberately sent out; the message was well taken for those who it was intended. Stand warned. Stand advised. should you not change course, other things may be brought into play.”

Museveni has managed to sustain his 31 years’ military dictatorship because Ugandans are gullible. They are now burying their heads in the sand and pretending that it is the first time a top regime official has invoked the army’s intervention. They are now rising alarms as if they don’t know that it is the army that now only brought Museveni to power but has ensured his continued hold on power. Don’t they know that Museveni brought his son in the army and has placed him at its helm just to ensure its total loyalty to him? Don’t they know that the top echelon of the army is not dominated by Officers from his region by accident but to ensure his continued hold on power? Don’t they know that Museveni’s sole interest in the EAC is to secure a Military Alliance that will ensure his continued hold on power? One just needs to imagine what the situation would be if the situation pertaining in Kenya was to be in Museveni’s Uganda!!!!!

Don’t shoot the messanger, Hon. Evelyn Anitte.


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