By Henry D Gombya
An exiled senior Ugandan army officer has called for a debate among Ugandans for an armed resistance to bring to an end the nearly 30 years of President Yoweri Museveni reign. Falling just short of calling for an outright armed struggle to oust his former boss, Gen David Sejusa, who fled to London over a year ago, said to sit back and do nothing as President Museveni ‘loots the country’ and ‘enslaves our children and our grandchildren to the yoke of debt repayment’ would be nothing but ‘treasonable’.
The general who is one of the most decorated senior Ugandan army officer to have fled the country since Museveni came to power in 1986 said: “… to all those who advocate that we fold our hands and do nothing, I ask of you – how can we do nothing while the President of Uganda is abrogating the constitution for which millions sacrificed their lives to put it in place?” He added: “How can we do nothing when a president is destroying all the systems and structures of state which will inevitably lead to instability and loss of life, [how can we do nothing] when a president commits the country to endless wars with no accountability whatsoever to the lives of the soldiers being killed…?”
Gen Sejusa, a law graduate from Makerere University in Kampala, was until April last year the chief coordinator of military intelligence services in Uganda, a member of the High Command of the Uganda army, the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) a representative of the UPDF in parliament and a senior presidential adviser to President Museveni. His return to Uganda after a brief visit to London was brought to a halt when President Museveni ordered the army to surround Entebbe International Airport where he was due to land with the intention of arresting him. Prior to his coming to London, he had written an article in the local English daily, The Monitor, criticising Museveni for allegedly planning to make his (Museveni’s) son Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba the next Ugandan leader and allegedly planning to execute senior army officers opposed to this arrangement. While those near him have denied Museveni had this plan in mind, the Ugandan leader has never at any time either denied or commented on the allegations.
Urging Ugandans to fully engage in the debate about what to do with the way President Museveni has run the country since 1986, Gen Sejjusa said: “The urgent question to answer is – what should be done when a government stops all peaceful means for those who do not agree with it to organise? What options are left? What should be done when a regime resorts to violent means to quell peaceful political actions?” Accusing the Ugandan leader of turning the country into ‘a family enterprise’ and using members of the armed forces as ‘herdsmen on his numerous farms’, Gen Sejusa asked how Ugandans could afford to simply fold their hands and do nothing as Museveni ordered the introduction of ‘pass laws’ as was the case during the apartheid days in South Africa. He wondered how Ugandans could do nothing while extrajudicial killings became rampant. “…doing nothing is not only morally treasonable but is criminally culpable,” the lawyer-turned-army general said.