By Henry D Gombya in London and Nkonge I Kaggwa in Kampala
Slightly over a fortnight since the sudden return of Gen David Sejusa to Uganda last month after 20 months in self-exile in London, Ugandans in the British capital who largely embraced the general’s arrival are still raising eyebrows as to how they got it so wrong. In London some of those who claim they gave him so much information are in hiding and have changed their phones while in Kampala it is still the talk of the day as Ugandans continue to wonder ‘what the heck!’
The General who seemed calm and composed when first seen in Uganda on his return, told a source that he is ready to retire from the army to concentrate on other issues. “I’m still a member of the army. I have served my country. I’m ready to retire. When I joined the army, I was not a career soldier,” he said. He was welcomed at his country home by relatives, friends and neighbours who were also caught unaware when he turned up in Sembabule district to lay a wreath on his father’s grave. “I had gone to the village for my weekend programmes (farming) but on Sunday we were surprised to see him. We learned from the media that he is in the country and was coming here and all of us did not believe it. That’s why we are here,” a lecturer from one of the institutions in Kampala exclaimed.
Questions still abound as to the timing of that return just as the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) that the general served for 28 years as a senior military commander was holding its party conference to determine, among other serious issues, the fate of then Secretary General Amama Mbabazi. Landing at Entebbe International Airport in the middle of the night on December 14, 2014, his sudden return to Kampala immediately silenced the leading story in the country at that time, that of the pending NRM party conference. The Mbabazi story was completely wiped off the front pages as each Kampala newspaper sought to find out what was to happen to the general and what had led to his sudden change of heart. There remains fears from some quarters that having opened up to him believing that he was now one of them, they may have given him far too much information that could now be used if, as some fear, he returned to once again become part of the Museveni regime.
In London, many woke up to whispers and hurriedly-written Facebook messages that Sejusa had returned home. “We told you so,” many of the doubters who throughout the general’s stay in the British capital doubted he had indeed cut ties with his nemesis. Many did not believe the ‘rumours’. On the morning he returned to Kampala, one of his close associates told The London Evening Post: “I just spoke to him yesterday and we are due to have a meeting today (Sunday December 14) at 11am.” The associate added: “When we meet I will take a photo of him and send it to you so you can assure your readers that there is no truth whatsoever that he has returned home.” By then, the general was safely at home in Sembabule, 6000 miles from the meeting he was supposed to chair in London.