Gen David Sejusa has denied any dealing with government and reaffirmed his call for regime change, saying he is now a transformed man ready to uproot President Museveni at all costs.
The general, who sneaked into the country recently, also took a swipe at the Opposition for playing exclusionist politics and betraying him.
Speaking at a welcome party at his Naguru home in Kampala yesterday, Gen Sejusa said he had never met President Museveni while in exile nor talked to him on phone. “I have never met Museveni from the time I left. I saw people saying I even telephoned him, let them bring the printouts. Let them prove,” he charged, wiping his face with a white handkerchief and clearing his voice.
He also rubbished Uganda Media Centre boss Ofwono Opondo’s claim that government had bought his air ticket, saying, “You can tell the quality of a government by its servants. How can an adult go on TV, open his eyes wide and lie to the nation that government bought my ticket. I paid for the ticket with my own debit card to British Airways. You can cross check that.”
On being welcomed by Internal Security Organisation director general Ronnie Balya, the general said it was a diversionary tactic that Museveni “took aantage of to spin” and faulted the Opposition for failing to seize the opportunity at the right time and chickening out.
“I spoke to some Opposition leaders, told them to join me at the airport but they feared. Museveni being the shrewd man he is seized the moment and sent his officers. Balya is an arresting officer who commands ISO, he is not a protocol person so to think it was red carpet for me really?” he said, taking a pause before adding, “I am a four star general, a powerful one, these are just disciplined officers who came to carry my bags but I told them your government is legal but it is evil and we must remove it.” He claimed he turned down the ISO boss’ security offer, saying he mistrusts “the evil government he serves.”
Gen Sejusa’s fall out with the regime, if at all, dates back to his letter addressed to Brig Balya in which he beseeched the spy chief to investigate claims that there was a plot to assassinate officers opposed to the ‘Muhoozi project.’ He would later flee to exile.
Exiled Col Samson Mande has consistently challenged Gen Sejusa to first detach himself from the government payroll before he can be trusted. The Bush War hero laughed off such calls, saying he has opposed to the regime right from the bush down to the 1990s while still serving in the army.
He said in 1980 he was serving in the Uganda Police Force but mobilised other members of the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) to fight the government. “We did not have to go to Obote and ask for a discharge certificate before going to the bush. In a fight against a dictatorship you cannot be subservient to rules of oppression,” he said. Gen Sejusa has asked before to be retired and condemned the army for holding officers hostage.
“It was Col Besigye, Paul Serwanga Lwanga and I who agitated for federo, in 1996 I brought Ssemogerere [for nomination to stand against President Museveni] but I was an army officer. I could have been court martialled. So what is new now?” he asked, attracting cheers from the audience of about 150 people seated in three tents.
He also said the Opposition should make use of his followership in the army and police, arguing it is his “family” and that is where his strength lies.
“I refused to surrender the UPDF to Mr Museveni even in exile. That is my family, it is my strength, to have the following of the army is a big opportunity for the opposition,” he said, giving the example of former army commander Gen Elly Tumwine whose personal connection with him dates back to the bush war days.
The former army MP and coordinator of intelligence services moved the audience when he narrated that he was transformed by God while in self-imposed exile and feels more humane now. He said the Opposition must take aantage of his knowledge of the State machinery and being a Saul turned Paul who made “blunders that I regret but now know the truth.”
“When I had to look for my own accommodation, cook my own food and lay my bed, stand up for old women in the train is when I realised God has transformed me. He opened my eyes that this power is superficial and that is what Museveni does not realise. That one day God will remove that power,” he said to ear deafening applause.
Throughout his address, the general kept referring to the struggle for power as, “a scientific process and not wishful thinking,” asking the Opposition to, “return to the drawing board and challenge the regime, lest it entrenches itself in power for more years if we are not organised even though NRM has messed up itself now.”
Low key entry
Earlier, Gen Sejusa drove in a mini-convoy from his village in Sembabule District to his Kampala home in Naguru, with police only on hand to guide his five-hour trip. He made several stopovers along the way, greeting and waving to curious bystanders, some of whom cheered him.
Along the Kampala Northern By-pass, Gen Sejusa briefly stopped over at the Namungoona roundabout, and again at Kalerwe. During the stopover at Kalerwe, he said in response to a question from the crowd whether he would contest the presidency in 2016: “It’s possible.” Pressed further for a more concise response, the General said, “All options are open.”
The general travelled in a grey, open-roof Cross Country Mercedes Benz and took every opportunity to wave to by-standers who warmed up to him along the way.
Gen. Sejusa left his country home in Nkoma Village in Sembabule at 11.40am, making several stopovers at different trading centres, including Kyabi, Bukomansimbi and Nyendo in Masaka, where there was a momentary encounter with the police.
The southern regional police commander, Mr Maxwell Ogwal, restrained him from prolonging a conversation with onlookers who the General had stepped out of his car to greet and the trip to Kampala continued shortly after 1.30pm.
The convoy of four vehicles, with the one in which the general was travelling bearing a peculiar registration plate number – XXX. It also bore a banner to the front with words written “Gen David Sejusa, esaawa etuse in Luganda (loosely translated as Gen David Sejusa, the time has come.)
In a move that might have confused onlookers, Gen Sejusa greeted them using symbols of different political partiesb – from NRM’s thumbs-up, FDC’s V-sign, DP’s fist sign to UPC’s open hand.
As he entered Kampala at the Busega roundabout, Gen Sejusa’s convoy was flagged down by Mr James Ruhweza, the police commander for Kampala Metropolitan south region, who asked the general to use the less congested Kampala Northern Bypass instead of Masaka Road as he made his way to the city.
Gen Sejusa had again stepped out of his vehicle, briefly greeted Mr Ruhweza and obliged. There had been speculation as to whether the general would be arrested after his return, especially since he is still a serving army officer.
On fleeing to exile in London at the end of April 2013, Gen Sejusa alleged his life was in danger due to his opposition to what he called a plot by President Museveni to install his son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, as his successor.
In response, the Army said Gen Sejusa would face the court martial over the allegations.
While in London, the general turned into an acerbic critic of the government, accusing it of poisoning its opponents and alleging that Mr Museveni had lost the 2006 election to Dr Besigye but that the results were fixed to favour President Museveni.
Gen Sejusa while in London formed a political pressure group, Free Uganda, which, according to correspondences between him and members of his group, which we have seen and published in Sunday Monitor on December 21, he returned to root for support for his party in Uganda.
The manner of Gen Sejusa’s return from exile and the yet-to-be-clear circumstances under which he was allowed back into the country, however, made a number of Opposition politicians suspicious about his genuineness as an opposition figure.
Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago, for example, said he would skip Gen Sejusa’s home-coming party because he was “not yet clear” about the General’s intentions.
Additional reporting by Issa Aliga and Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi
SOURCE: Daily Monitor