Sejusa – a History of Falling Outs

Whatever finally persuaded Gen David Sejusa to return home, it is fair to say that life in exile has not been smooth sailing.

In July, it emerged that he had fallen out with Prof Amii Omara Otunnu, who was the chairperson of Freedom and Unity Front, formed a year ago as the main vehicle for opposing what Sejusa called Museveni’s dictatorship. In a statement, Sejusa said Otunnu was incapable of leading a both political and “non-political” campaign.

Also, because of a history of falling out with Museveni and then returning to the fold, Sejusa’s self-imposed exile was initially met with skepticism and suspicion. While in the United Kingdom, he is said to have been in touch with different opposition or opposition-leaning politicians, including Paul Mwiru and Theodore Ssekikubo, and there was always lingering doubts as to whether he had reached a point of no-return.

We could not speak to the former FDC President Kizza Besigye, but reliable sources said Besigye met Sejusa at least once. And while on the outside, he appeared to be cajoling him to join the opposition, the retired colonel is understood to have retained instinctive reservations. One source said Besigye considered liaising with his contacts in London to establish Sejusa’s resolve.

Dr Besigye, however, yesterday answered a text message seeking his perspective on Sejusa’s return: “Well, I am waiting to hear from him. Since he is here, there shouldn’t be any need to speculate. I am sure he will talk for himself.”

To critics who never took Sejusa seriously, the general’s incident-free reentry into the country could be taken as a telltale sign that he could yet reconcile with Museveni. They will argue that they have seen it all before, even if the general says he has only changed the location of his struggle, rather than abandoning it.

Wives, girlfriends:

The first major falling out between Sejusa and the establishment came in 1984, when the then rebel commander, Yoweri Museveni, stopped officers from living with their girlfriends. What infuriated Sejusa was that Museveni allowed his brother Salim Saleh to keep his woman.

Sejusa protested this selective application of rules. He was suspended from the High Command, dropped as Director General of Intelligence and Security, and formally charged with insubordination. He was imprisoned and only released when the war intensified and the rebels needed every fighter they could find.

Not in army:

In 1989, Tinyefuza was promoted to the rank of Major General, appointed minister of state for Defence and sent to northern Uganda to oversee the operations against Alice Lakwena’s rebel Holy Spirit Movement. He distinguished himself as a ruthless war commander who sent shivers down the spines of both rebels and civilians.

On November 28, 1996, he appeared before the parliamentary committee on Defence and Internal Affairs and gave a testimony that renewed the bush war bad blood between him and Museveni. He indirectly accused Museveni of not doing enough to end the war.

Museveni ordered him to appear before the High Command to explain his remarks but instead, Tinyefuza resigned from the army. The then minister of State for Defence, Amama Mbabazi, declared his resignation null and void, forcing the general to go to court.

He won the case in the Court of Appeal but his legal victory was overturned in the Supreme Court. He was rehabilitated and has since taken on several new assignments, including the arrest of Col Dr Kizza Besigye in 2005, the military siege of the High court in 2006.

Among the key figures in persuading Sejusa to return to the fold was General Salim Saleh, who is said to have spent days at Sejusa’s Kyengera home.

Saluting grand children:

The third major incident came in April last year. Sejusa demanded an inquiry into alleged plots to kill high ranking officials opposed to purported attempts by Museveni to groom his son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerugaba, for the presidency. He then fled into exile in the United Kingdom. Sejusa would later write to provocatively urge Museveni to save senior officers like him from having to salute their grandchildren.

On Saturday May 11, 2013, Sejusa was expected to return to Uganda. The army deployed heavily both in Kampala and around Entebbe airport. On the eve of the day of the anticipated return, Sejusa changed his mind. He told The Observer that he could not return “to be arrested like a cockroach”.

But there was no incident on Saturday night, when Sejusa returned.

Source : The Observer

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