Embattled General David Sejusa, who is expected to return from the United Kingdom on Saturday, plans to unleash another dossier on the state of security in the country before announcing his withdrawal from the government.
Gen Sejusa, better known as Tinyefuza, has been in the headlines since Monday, following publication of details of a letter he wrote to President Museveni; written through the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), the letter demanded an investigation into reports that there were plans to assassinate top army officers perceived to be opposed to the so-called “Muhoozi Project.”
He was referring to reports that Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the president’s son who is also commander of the Special Forces Command, is being prepared to succeed his father as head of state.
A highly-placed source, who is close to the general, told our source that upon his return to Uganda from the United Kingdom, Sejusa is likely to announce the breaking of ranks with President Museveni and throw more light on why he thinks Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba is being propped up for the country’s top job.
It would not be the first time he has broken ranks as he tried to force his way out of the army in 1997, after lambasting the institution, only to lose a petition in the Supreme court. He was later rehabilitated and returned to the fold.
“He is going to come back on Saturday this week, and he will issue a comprehensive statement on what is happening in the country. In the statement, he will also declare his new political and military direction,” a confidant of Sejusa told us.
Sejusa accuses Police chief, Lt Gen Kale Kayihura, Muhoozi and his uncle, General Salim Saleh, of being behind the said assassination plot he wants investigated. Jolted by the allegation, all the accused individuals reacted angrily. Gen Aronda Nyakairima, the Chief of Defence Forces, said Gen Sejusa is subject to military law and should, therefore, be careful what he says.
The Special Forces Command spokesperson, Capt Edison Kwesiga, told our source that the procedures of becoming a head of state in Uganda are well-known, as stipulated in the Constitution, and so there could not be a mysterious project that can impose somebody on the people.
Defence Minister Dr Crispus Kiyonga yesterday read a statement in Parliament in which he denied the assassination plot and described Sejusa’s claims as unfortunate.
Sejusa’s lawyer, Joseph Luzige of Luzige, Lubega, Kavuma & Co Advocates, yesterday denied media reports that the general had vanished.
“Our client is away on official duty and as a Member of Parliament [representing the army], he informed the Speaker of Parliament,” Luzige said in a statement.
Asked whether Sejusa indeed sought the speaker’s permission to travel abroad, Ismail Ranny, who handles media matters in the office of the speaker, said they would issue an official statement on the matter soon. According to the Sejusa confidant we spoke to, in addition to opposing the “Muhoozi project”, the general is accused of meeting some opposition MPs and a few NRM- leaning legislators with the aim of building a political network to change the status quo.
Some of the MPs he has allegedly met include DP’s Mukasa Mbidde (EALA), Mathias Nsubuga (Bukoto South), the four expelled NRM MPs—Wilfred Niwagaba (Ndorwa East), Theodore Ssekikubo (Lwemiyaga), Barnabas Tinkasiimire (Buyaga West) and Muhammad Nsereko (Kampala Central), as well as former Makindye East MP and SDP leader, Michael Mabikke.
Whereas Mbidde told our source that he will comment on the matter at an appropriate time, Nsubuga vehemently denied ever meeting Sejusa to discuss politics.
“We recently met at the wedding of my daughter where he came because his wife is a maternal aunt of my son; I have not met him to discuss politics,” Nsubuga said.
Niwagaba also denied meeting Sejusa. Mabikke declined to talk about the matter on phone. Sejusa, sources say, has also met selected people in Buganda who contributed to the NRM struggle in the 1980-86 bush war. However, these sources rejected the view that Sejusa changed his name from Tinyefuza as part of a scheme to win favour in the central region. Sejusa is a Munyankore, but he hails from Sembabule in Buganda.
His confidant told us that he was named Sejusa at birth and only changed to Tinyefuza later on. Nevertheless, the two names mean the same thing: “I don’t regret.”
Sources have told us that as a result of Sejusa and other people’s political activities, especially in Buganda, President Museveni, who is expected to seek re-election in 2016, is exploring the possibility of propping up a viable candidate as a successor. According to these sources, Museveni prefers a Catholic and a Muganda candidate, preferably his deputy, Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, or Maria Mutagamba, the minister of Tourism.
We have been told that Museveni is not taking the threat posed by Sejusa lightly, which partly explains why he has embarked on early campaigns, particularly in Busoga. Sejusa has been working with some youth groups and is patron of the Uganda Youth Platform (UYP), an organisation that seeks to support disadvantaged youth in Busoga and other areas.
UYP national chairperson, Hilary Emmanuel Musoke, confirmed that Sejusa is their patron.
“The Ugandan youth are normally used by many people for selfish gains, but Gen Sejusa has mobilised us for development purposes only, regardless of our political affiliations,” said Musoke.
We have been told that when Museveni learnt that this group had started to mobilise in Busoga, he rushed there with the controversial Shs 250m donation. Busoga in particular and eastern Uganda in general are expected to be particularly problematic because some NRM bigwigs hailing from the region have presidential ambitions of their own. Soroti Municipality MP Mike Mukula, and Speaker of Parliament Rebecca Kadaga, both vice chairpersons of NRM, are reported to be interested in the top job.
Another politician who has expressed interest in the job is former Vice President, Prof Gilbert Bukenya, the Busiro North MP. Not surprisingly, Bukenya is reported to be one of the politicians that Sejusa has spoken to. Sources close to Sejusa say he wants to support a candidate other than Museveni or his son in the coming elections, and this might be Bukenya, although he (Sejusa) doesn’t rule himself out of contention.