‘We can’t wait for saints to be born to talk about excesses.’
Gen David Sejusa (aka Tinyefuza) has defended his controversial missive on what he calls “creeping lawlessness, impunity, primitive arrogance and insensitive behaviour” among “some actors who manage the affairs of the state”.
In an e-mail to The Observer, the Coordinator of Security Services and UPDF Member of Parliament, says he will not “wait for saints to be born and come and talk about excesses.”
Although he admits that he is not a “saint”, Sejusa argues that that should not be used by his critics as a basis to pour cold water on the points he raised in his letter to Daily Monitor.
To these critics, Sejusa, who is now a subject of debate in the Army Council, says, “So, South Africa should have waited for those not involved in conflict to negotiate the release of [Nelson] Mandela…? So, Jesus would have had no disciples until they passed sainthood?”
There is also talk that Sejusa’s letter has sparked off a rift between him and President Museveni, who prefers that army officers desist from making controversial utterances. However, it appears Sejusa, who is also a presidential advisor on security matters, is not about to stop voicing his opinion.
His e-mail was in response to Pius Muteekani Katunzi’s column in The Observer (see: Pius Katunzi: Is this the usual Tinye we know?). The columnist wondered whether Sejusa had the moral authority to call for restraint, given his own background.
Katunzi wrote: “What came to mind, though, was that this once guerilla genius had decided to put a huge mirror before himself and what he saw just reflected his life, which he found offending. And the only way to exorcise this newfound repugnant image was to write about it. For if there is any king of meanness, ruthlessness, arrogance and impunity this country has ever known, it is Gen ‘Tinye”.
In his reply, Sejusa defended his actions when he cut off the entire northern Uganda from the south at Karuma bridge and declared the north a no-go area in order to contain the then newly established Lord’s Resistance Army of Joseph Kony.
“How do you suggest a war should be fought? Actually, I majored for my LLM programme not on human rights, but environmental law and policy and international law,” Sejusa said in his e-mail.
“Anyway, the point [I’m] raising this is, there is something called the law of war under the Geneva conventions. Go have a look and see what constitutes a war crime in real conflict. You must have been very young to know that Kony was on Karuma bridge crossing to Kampala by the time I was sent [to fight him]”.
In his statement to Daily Monitor, Sejusa had said: “The violence against the population by those permitted by the law to protect the people must stop. The poor people who are being beaten and flogged, women undressed in front of their children and cameras are the ones whose poor parents fought the war of liberation. They are the people who housed us, gave us intelligence and offered their all to create a better future”.
Sejusa tries to make the same case in his response to The Observer columnist, Katunzi, arguing that he has always been on the side of Ugandans.
“So, [between] you and me, who is on the side of Ugandans? Me who stopped killers from taking power in Kampala and committing genocide or you who seems to suggest no arrests should ever be made because that offends human rights?” Sejusa asked.
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