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Towards the end of the bush war in Luweero Triangle in the mid 1980s, David Tinyefuza (now renamed Sejusa), spent at least one year in detention.

Sejusa had challenged the order of the National Resistance Army (NRA) leadership that commanders must not have girlfriends in the rebel camps, which he saw as unjust, considering that some of the top commanders who had passed this order kept their women.

For his protest, he was accused of spreading malicious propaganda and put under detention.

However, as the war continued, the NRA faced an emergency situation and was forced to release Sejusa to embark on combat duties he was obviously good at. Soon, he was a victorious commander in Kampala, as the NRA/M captured power. The outspoken — and no stranger to controversy — General Sejusa has written two politically loaded letters since October 2012.

The latest, published on Saturday, is hugely critical of the coup talk, and attempts to give guidance on how government should manage the prevailing complex political challenges. Sources familiar with Sejusa’s office say, the general is a bit frustrated and out of touch with President Museveni. This, the source says, forms one of the general’s lowest moments in his military and political advisory career and leaves him with one option –to advise the presidency in print.

Though many senior army officers have been critical of the coup talk, Sejusa’s 1,149 word statement on the matter is the sternest so far and has taken the debate a notch higher. Sejusa has gone as far as suggesting that the NRM must reflect deeply on what political direction the country should take after 27 years.

“When a government has been in power for 27 uninterrupted years, it becomes inevitable that people will start asking questions about service delivery, about accountability, about crime, etc, and ultimately will start demanding for change of some sort. It’s only natural,” Sejusa, coordinator of Intelligence Services, wrote in a statement sent to the media on Friday and first published by Saturday Monitor.

He advised today’s leadership to find a way of confronting the changes and desist from the tendency of keeping their heads down while trying to deny reality.

Unhappy Tinye

Sejusa’s letter is not the handiwork of a happy man. Our sources say the general has not recovered from the “humiliation” he suffered when he was evicted from his Kololo office by the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) in 2011. Sejusa had vowed not to leave the house and even threatened to arrest Jennifer Musisi, the KCCA executive director.

However, after President Museveni’s intervention, the general backed down and left the building. The same sources told us that Sejusa is also unhappy with his inability to meet and advise Museveni despite several requests. Through media statements, the source said, he could be sending an important message.

“It is a way of saying I am still around,” the source said. Other sources told The Observer that his frustration could be a deeper reflection of the frustration amongst other senior army officers who unlike him, fear to speak their mind.

According to these sources, Sejusa and other senior army commanders feel left out, with President Museveni opting to run the UPDF using younger officers, leaving the old guard in the cold. Indeed sources in the intelligence community have told us that Sejusa is particularly unhappy that his reports to the President are at times first channeled to the head of the Special Forces Command, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the President’s son, for advice before being addressed.

Sejusa may not have realised all along that he was not appointed to do anything, a political analyst told us. He now realises he is not as influential as he thought he was, and that can he hard to take for a proud man like him. The analyst adds that the likes of Tinyefuza, who were almost indispensable after the war, now have to play second fiddle to the President’s two main lieutenants on matters of security –  the police chief, Lt Gen Kale Kayihura, and Museveni’s son, Brig Kainerugaba.

Mirundi speaks

Realising that they have been sidelined, the analyst said, historical army officers like Sejusa are trying to position themselves for the post-Museveni era.

“They are trying to be relevant in a future political order given that the current one has almost disowned them,” our analyst explained, citing Sejusa’s colleague, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire who used the occasion of ‘rebel’ MP Theodore Ssekikubo’s graduation in Lwemiyaga, Sembabule, to also warn against soldiers seeking to overthrow the constitution.

The analyst also named Brig Henry Tumukunde, who recently told the General Court Martial where he is bring tried for spreading malicious propaganda, that he is fed up with the military court process. However, the President’s Press Secretary, Tamale Mirundi, said not much should be read into Sejusa’s letter because he is not in charge of the army.

“Generals remain at decision making level but the real people who run the army are the majors and the colonels,” Tamale said.

He added that if Sejusa is frustrated by his inability to meet Museveni, it is because the President is busy.

“If Museveni was to meet each MP, every RDC, every army leader, he would not have time for other things. Even some of us who work with him have to go through the Principal Private Secretary (PPS) if we want to meet him,” he said.

He advised Sejusa to go through the army council or through the heads of External Security Organisation and Internal Security Organisation (ISO). Sewava Mukasa, an aide to Sejusa, told The Observer on Saturday that like any Ugandan his boss was free to express his opinion on any matter.

Col. Felix Kulayigye, the army spokesperson concurred with Sewava.

“He is not a mere army MP like Brig [Henry] Tumukunde was [when he made controversial statements about the government in 2005]. He is free to speak his mind,” Kulayigye said by telephone at the weekend.

He, however, said the on-going controversial debate about a possible coup d’etat was not necessary because no one in the army has talked about it or even contemplated it.

In his statement, Sejusa says the turmoil we see today, especially among the political actors and between the different state institutions, is an inevitable consequence of maturity (coming of age) of a system which requires a clearly set out ideological and political framework.

He said this is the ideological issue, the core question of our time. And how we handle this central issue will determine how Uganda as a country and the Eastern African region will be, not in the next 20 or 30 years, but may be three years or less, Sejusa said.

He added that this reality must guide us in the choices we make today because it will influence the behaviour of the international community and determine the economic situation in the country and the long term stability of the state and the region.

“These are the issues facing us as a country not these coups or counter coups. For in the long run they are not sustainable politically, socially, ideologically not even plausible in the geopolitical setting,” he concludes.

Rebellious past

Yet whatever repercussions his latest statement will attract, Sejusa has a reputation as someone who never shies away from speaking his mind. In October last year, Tinye warned leaders against acting with impunity and arrogance after the Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) demolished part of Centenary Park amid protest from the business community operating there.

“Therefore, this is a call to all those involved in the management of public affairs to reflect and pull back a little to make sure they fully understand where the country is going, the current forces at play and the challenges that face us,” he wrote.

In 1996, Sejusa broke ranks with the army and President Museveni when he sharply criticised the handling of the war in northern Uganda while testifying in a committee of Parliament. During the committee hearing, Tinyefuza had berated the army leadership as corrupt and inefficient, arguing that this is why the war was not coming to an end.

He also complained that he was a military advisor, who essentially never advises the President. When he was threatened with disciplinary measures, Sejusa resigned from the army, saying he had lost faith in the institution.

His resignation was rejected by the UPDF, which said he had not complied with the army’s conditions of service. Sejusa petitioned the Constitutional Court in 1997, claiming he had ceased to be a soldier when he was appointed a presidential advisor on military affairs in 1993.

He won the case, but in 1998 the state appealed to the Supreme Court, which declared that he was still in the army. He was later ‘rehabilitated’, reportedly with the help of his colleague General Salim Saleh, and became part of the establishment again. Now he sounds like he is not part of it anymore – again.

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Comments

 
+7 #1 Baryamugisha 2013-02-03 23:24
Sejusa will kwejusa. Besigye did it, why not him. The earlier he does this, the better for him.

New forces are already on the political scene and this old guard has already lost out. Just watch this space.
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+9 #2 Steven Nsubuga 2013-02-04 00:00
Why isnt he allowed to resign and join the civilian political process where his ideas can add intellectual fire power to the process?
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+3 #3 Nakasero 2013-02-04 00:34
It is really regrettable that disillusioned generals( Otafiire, Seuza and others) go against their own struggle and themselves!

If it were not NRA/NRM struggle maybe they would be now businessmen, teachers, farmers( rearing cows and having a happy rural village).Politics and the country are above one's own pride and prejudice.

I think it is high time for those named generals to retire from public life and go back to their own lives.Life is short, it is good to take most of it.
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+3 #4 kabatsi 2013-02-04 03:20
Tinyefunze is just playing a game. He butchered thousands in northern Uganda during operation north and here he is trying to lecture us on freedom and democracy.

Let him go and hang, he is a cold blooded killer full stop and he will answer one day.
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+4 #5 doctordre 2013-02-04 05:57
As much as I agree with the content, I hope it is not sour grapes after he was evicted by Musisi.
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+12 #6 Lakwena 2013-02-04 08:35
The Ghanaians say: a bird that perch for too long on a tree invites stones to be thrown at it. That is what is happening to President M7.

But what a "Kamanyiro" the good old generals are going through! I wish they knew how deep Mr. M7's illegitimacy goes; illegitimate in everything he does.

That illegitimacy is being passed on to his son Brig. Muhoozi (an illegitimate recruit into and promotions in the UPDF, and his illegitimate recrutement of other UPDF personnels: That Gen Sejusa's communication to the president has first to be scanned by Brig Muhoozi must be so so insulting.
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+8 #7 Lakwena 2013-02-04 08:38
The moment M7 renegated on his famous rhetoric, "the problem of Africa is leaders over-staying in power"; it became the definitive moment he lost everybody's respect, more so from his comorades at arms like Dr. Kiiza Besigye, and I am the Sejusa of this world. When he realized that he has become fake in the eyes of the world, he now insults everybody.

Even his recent revision of "... over-staying in power without the mandate of people does not help his illegitimacy (NTV 2012). This is as if in 1986 he ended his sentence with a comma (,)or he went into a 27-year comatose to complete the sentence in 2012!
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+4 #8 Zenge 2013-02-04 08:57
i hear Sejusa was the one in charge when Nambozze, Segona and Mayiga were abducted some years back and driven round the country and ending up with trumped up charges of terrorism!

Wasnt it Sejusa who once donned a kanzu and went to Mengo but later seemed to have been involved in backing the inhuman acts by the military during the buganda riots? Wasnt it Sejusa who was the manager of Besigye's arrest at Kyengera after he returned from Johannesburg?

Sejusa should know that the chickens have come home to roost. One can trust Sejusa at his or her own peril. I dont like M7 but Sejusa is a thousand time worse than him.
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+8 #9 Tibakyeenga Maziima 2013-02-04 09:43
The story of General Sejusa should be treated with pooh pooh, because he is part of the repressive system and he is just being used to throw stone in the bush and they all all see what springs out of it.

This Govt and the NRM is run by a cabal of Mafios and on ethnic base. Stand warned fellow Ugandans. Remember the 50 year Plan of the Tutsi Empire in the Region.
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+4 #10 martin 2013-02-04 10:29
Gentlemen,we shd never ever blame the Tumukundes,Tiny es for how they behaved while in office,disobyei ng orders in in the army can cause u to be beaten by Draru and end yo life,Kazini never obeyed the above's orders and Draru finished him,so if the Tinyez and Tumukunde hv realized that things r not good in the country and that its Muhoozi who has to peruse their reprts addressed to the president then lets forgive them and support them.

But M7 is deceiving himself if he is humilliating generals and gloriffying hiz son over them then Uganda is headed for doom,anyway M7 thinks he and hiz family own Uganda,but he might end up like Ben Ali,MUbarrack and Gddafi. May the grace of God be unto Uganda!!!
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+2 #11 Demo 2013-02-04 10:38
Guys, it is only dead men who don't "change their minds". We need allies of all sort at this critical time. Most of us at one or another supported the dictator.

If someone has seen the light lets move on. The big man ought to realize that First son Led Elite Forces have failed in many countries and NOT bound to succeed here by illegally grabbing power and re-installing the same man. People will always prevail..
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+6 #12 stevenkasiko 2013-02-04 10:56
Tinye should be facing the ICC for the killing in Northern Uganda just like his commander in chief
These are opportunist that we should not take serious
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+1 #13 Jackson 2013-02-04 11:13
I totally do not agree with my fellow writer, who says sejusa is killer. However he might be one,but it does not mean that he should look on when the country is getting into turmoil, or the country navigating back where it begun from.

God never wants a sinner to die or continue sinning BUT repentance. Sejusa is trying to repent by advocating for a democratic gov`t where he will be able to regret what he was forced to do in the north. He acted on who`s orders?. I do not think he acted on his own orders.
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+6 #14 wodgot 2013-02-04 12:52
Tinye is now more than a frustrated General, he's showing signs of a soldier being haunted by the spirits and blood of innocent Ugandans who were killed by them while in office.

He needs to come out open and confess to Ugandans that the innocent souls are now disturbing him. Let him get help from Bishops and other God fearing people around the country!
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+8 #15 Lakwena 2013-02-04 15:10
It is easy to forgive but cannot forget, and stevenkasiko is maybe right, why did the guy change his name? Between 1989 2000, as one of the Commanders against the LRA rebellion, Tinye was behind the scotch earth policy, which placed Northern Uganda in a total media black-out- WHY?

That was when the NRA/UPDF did whatever they wanted on the people of Northern Uganda, especially the Acholi who are sterotyped as sturbon!

Tinye was the master of human rights violation; he for example frog marched Northern Uganda MPs: Muzee, Adimola (RIP), Zakarya Olum (all DP) and broke Hon Omara Atubo's (UPC)arm, like chicken thieves.
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+7 #16 Lakwena 2013-02-04 15:13
In the IDP camps and according to the Ministry of Health (Uganda) and WHO, throughout that period, 1,000 children died of infectious diseases per week.

This is not to mention children outside the camps, the aged and infirm who also died during the same period.

Which in other langauge was a biological warfare that depopulated Northern Uganda. In 2002, if it were not God's grace and personal sacrifices of people like Dr. Lukwiya and other medical staff at Lacor Hospital (all RIP), the deadly Ebola virus would have wipe out the people of Gulu District and vicinity.
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+1 #17 Francis 2013-02-04 16:47
I hail from Kitgum and belief that those delving on the Northern war are seeking cheap revenge on the likes of Tinye, Amnesty for the Like of Kony and NO true justice and accountability for the Lost souls!!

Who killed Acholis more than Acholis killing themselves and others??

Otema Awany: An Acholi with "Take No prisoner" mentality and indeed he took no prisoner!!
Kony, Alice Lakwena, Severino Lukoya, Oti Lagony, Oti Vincent, Onen Kamdulu, Thomas Kwoyelo, Men, Dominic Ongwen, Tabuley Charles, etc. are ALL ruthless Killers!!!

The NRM Government in general and M7 in particular is to blame for the Northern Atrocities. They exposed their dirty hearts by even stealing the little donor fund meant to uplift the poorest of the Poor northerners!

How can they buy just luxurious cars and fund "nine trips a month to Isarael" using PRDP money????????????!!!
Tinye is only trying to Circumvent some sinsiter stuffs in the offing.
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+1 #18 JUBA 2013-02-04 17:17
While on the dance floor, if you cannot judge that the curtain is comming down, and so the need bow down in synch, then you have a problem.

The young players must be given space to horn thier act, and now is the time. They must be protected ,if at all, from people like Sejusa.
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+4 #19 wambwa 2013-02-04 18:38
crocodile tears shame upon the good general.
if he was not looking for self aggrandizement he should have joined the likes of his colleagues Besigye,KAZOORA ,GEN. MUNTU,MUSHEGA etc,etc to over throw Museveni politically thru a ballot.
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0 #20 tom mugerwa 2013-02-05 03:11
The issue at hand is whether Gen Ssejjusa is trying to distance himself from the regime or he is calling for attention from his boss,in both instances he is scoring.

The truth is that people are tired of the 27 years of the Museveni regime no matter whether it is delivering or not. Such along period of time in power breeds groups and cliques within that begin to jostle for power.

Tinye is pointing out issues that are common and known today but unfortunately he has been part and parcel of the system that created, and oversaw the decay . Little or no sympathy can be extended to him by the already tired Ugandans. On Tamale i don't know why he at times does not keep quite instead of making a fool of himself!!
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