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General David Sejusa, the coordinator of intelligence services (is he still in charge after the raid on his office?), is the man of the moment.

The moustached military man is arguably the most controversial army officer of the Museveni era. His knack for facing-off with higher authorities dates back to the guerrilla bush war days in Luweero. Right in the middle of the NRA war against Obote’s government, he was detained in an underground ‘jail’ for a year, only to be freed right in time to lead one of the major fronts in the grand finale and the capture of power in Kampala.

Yet even with his controversial and unnerving demeanour, Sejusa has largely been at the centre of the Museveni establishment. His attempt to retire from the army in 1997 triggered a protracted court battle all the way to the Supreme court. In the end, he ate a bit of his words and was persuaded, if not compelled, to return to the status quo.

This raises a curious question: is Sejusa indispensable to the Museveni regime? Museveni always emphasises the rationale of ‘okubejjako’ (getting rid of them), the most recent purging of dissenters being that of the famous ‘rebel MPs.’ Will Sejusa be purged this time round? Most unlikely, and here is why.

Sejusa is indispensable to the current establishment in a critical way but he also carries a badly - damaged name. Thus there is a mutuality of interest and reciprocal coexistence between him and Museveni.

He is by far one of the most intelligent army officers, with an irreplaceable understanding of statecraft. If Museveni was looking for a genuine and objective, intellectually grounded yet pragmatic assessment of a key security-political question, Sejusa is likely to be the president’s first point of call.

But Sejusa’s first - rate grasp of state affairs is easily matched by his deeply-involved role in the flagrant abuses and heinous deeds of the current regime. Here, one is tempted to draw parallels with the late Brig Noble Mayombo.

The public credibility of Sejusa is as appallingly spectacular as his contribution to sustaining the Museveni regime. In this lies the rationale for mutual coexistence between Sejusa and the Ssabalwanyi (the chief fighter) who is President Museveni. It is likely that the two will always swim or float together albeit through a hate-love relationship!

For one, Gen Sejusa was reported as the behind-the-scenes architect of the infamous siege on the High court in Kampala on November 16, 2005. His name also featured prominently in the deadly September 2009 Buganda riots.

What is more, for a man highly schooled in law, in addition to his role in attacking the ‘temple of justice,’ an act the then Principal Judge, James Ogoola, called ‘the most naked and grotesque violation of the twin doctrines of the rule of law and the independence of the Judiciary,’ Sejusa did something worse.

After the first High court siege, a public interest litigation case No. 1 (2006) was filed in the Constitutional court, challenging the simultaneous trial of PRA rebel suspects in the High court and General Court Martial. In a landmark ruling, the Constitutional court held that the GCM is subordinate to the High court and that the double-trial was unconstitutional.And guess who fired the first salvo against the judges? General Sejusa!

In attacking the judges, Sejusa was picking a leaf from his boss who, a few years earlier, castigated the same court after its ruling annulling the Referendum Act, 2000. While Gen Museveni accused the judges of trying to usurp ‘the powers of the people,’ Sejusa condemned the judges for undermining national security!

But Sejusa did not stop at castigating the judges. He was party to something even more reprehensible: the continued illegal detention of PRA treason suspects, including a young brother to opposition politician Kizza Besigye (Sejusa’s bestman!). Besigye’s brother (Musasizi Kifefe) died a few months after leaving jail. It was at one of the failed attempts to free his brother that Dr Besigye, a man hitherto seen as defiant and courageous, broke down in tears for the first time in public.

Fast forward to last Friday, The Observer reported that Gen Sejusa had cancelled his expected return to Uganda. Apparently he ‘was not ready to be arrested like a cockroach!’ So, generals too fear unfair, if illegal, arrests?

In his most recent statement in The Observer (on Wednesday), Sejusa says a spy was planted in his office, to spy on the chief of intelligence! Isn’t that how things run?
Assuming The Observer’s report was accurate, and if Sejusa returns to Uganda, as his lawyers have insisted he will, he is likely to face the same abuses he presided over. The old adage will ring loud: what goes around comes around.

Recently, Brig Henry Tumukunde protested his endless appearance before the General Court Martial. But was Tumukunde also recalling the infractions at his behest when he was spy chief at ISO and CMI? Unfortunately, the current ‘chiefs,’ especially the Inspector General of Police, Lt Gen Kale Kayihura appear unbothered by these trends!

The author is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Northwestern University, Evanston/Chicago-USA
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Comments

 
+3 #1 DAVID 2013-05-17 01:40
I want to believe that Ugandans have educated themselves in the past 27 years since Museveni has been in power that these kind of acts by his officers aren't anything new.

The problem, however, is that Ugandans have become too afraid to speak out openly because of the intimidation tactics of this government.

The way the government operates is very frustrating to a lot of people, but until we start to speak out openly we will be dictated upon for a few more years to come.

Lets unite and use the ballot box to get rid of the Museveni clan.Don't take that little money that he gives out every election season.
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+3 #2 James 2013-05-17 13:08
It is interesting to see a un-coordinated coordinator of of intelligence services. Makes one wonder how coordinated the intelligence services is.

This is a major reason for worry because an un-coordinated head of intelligence services means lack of coordination bewteen the services which can result into un-coordinated movement of troops and their responses.

It looks like 1985 all over again for those who were already born then.

Museveni loves Uganda so much but unfortunately he has fallen in love with the presidency and it has become a life and death issue for him. Have courage Mr President. There is life after state house.

For God and my Country
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+4 #3 naanka 2013-05-17 13:44
Sejusa, Sabalwanyi, Mbabazi, Muhweezi, Mutebire, Mugisha Muntu, Besigye, Mushega....their families and all; bush generals, have to go!

The country needs its own civilized and concerned people to repair and rebuild the looted, raped and bleeding counrty!!
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-1 #4 Robert Atuhairwe 2013-05-17 16:38
A General fearing spies amuses.
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+2 #5 Mubiru 2013-05-17 18:22
The writer states that Sejusa "is by far one of the most intelligent army officers" He adds that if Museveni was looking for , intellectuals etc Sejusa is likely to be the president’s first point of call.

I believe Khisa's attributes to Sejusa are the very harbinger of his impending down fall. (if it hasn't happened already). Precedents confirm that Museveni hates intelligent people because they question his "infallibity".

As a person who believes to have monopoly of intelligence any one who questions his "vision" is phased out as the list of his former loyal supporters shows. Most of them were not stupid while others are highly intelligent but where are they now? If you want to serve Museveni forget about your intelligence and just listen to

whatever he tells you like preacher in a church.That's how the so called survivors are "eating" from Museveni platter.
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0 #6 Webesixty 2013-05-17 19:58
Can snakes kill themselves with their own poisons?
With a name like Sejusa, one would have thought the General does not give an F to being steam rolled by Museveni. The "Terminator" proved everyone wrong.
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-1 #7 Leppuka 2013-05-18 02:17
I feel embarassed for the author, a PHD candidate who comes out with unsuported statements out of the blue, e.g "He is by far one of the most intelligent army officers". What does that mean, "by far one of. . . "? And where is your source?
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0 #8 Ahmad kamusi 2013-05-18 09:40
Very good article by the PHD man- a general falling on his own sword. He should be able to explain to the skeptical Ugandands why he 'raped the temple of justice' as part of his public rehabilitation.

Was he acting on his own or taking orders from the president. He needs to wash all dirty linen in public and leave no stone unturned in return for public sympathy otherwise he will alway be seen damaged property.
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