Late last month I received a curious email. The author signed off as ‘David Sejusa’. But the email user ID had some other name.
I initially ignored it and only replied after getting confirmation, through a friend, that indeed the then exiled former coordinator of intelligence services, General David Sejusa, had sent the email.
Later, back in Chicago, I got on the phone with a friend in Washington. He told me that he had information that Sejusa may be on his way back to the Museveni establishment. I said that was possible. He said it was unlikely.
‘Sejusa is a very proud guy. He can’t return to plead before Museveni a second time,’ my friend reasoned. I concurred. Here is a man who believes he is actually more intelligent than his former master, and unlike the president, Sejusa considers himself a royal.
Thus, after a seemingly-irreparable fallout, worse than the 19967 one, it would be inconceivable that General Sejusa could crawl back to the Ssabalwanyi to confess that he was misled or possessed by a demon or something like that!
Then a day after this conversation with my Washington friend, Sejusa landed at Entebbe International airport!
In all fairness, just like Dr Kizza Besigye when he was exiled in South Africa in the early2000s, Sejusa had insisted he would return to Uganda because it was his constitutional right to be home. But for a man who, over the last year and a half, had so caustically denounced the Ugandan government and the misrule of General Museveni to return stealthily but with the explicit approval of the same regime is quite bewildering.
Now, Sejusa is undoubtedly smart and savvy. He has already made a sensible statement: if he made a deal with Museveni, it will be known if there was no deal, still we shall know. In other words, time will tell. Fair enough. It will be interesting to see what the government and the army does to a man who was accused of high- level subversion and declared a deserter.
But Sejusa should know that the way he returned to Uganda, deal or no deal with Museveni, further dampens efforts aimed at rallying forces to end the decadent NRM regime.
For starters, many among those opposed to Museveni were sceptical of Sejusa, considering how he previously dramatically capitulated and tasted his own vomit, something he swore never to do! His rather brazen return to Uganda on Sunday morning can only fuel the mutual mistrust and suspicion that has for long afflicted forces opposed to Museveni.
Museveni will be most pleased to know that even though Sejusa is opposed to his rule, which I am inclined to believe, considering his track record right from the days of the Constituent Assembly in 1994 and his support for Ssemogerere in 1996 (Mzee Ssemo confirmed this to me), not many people trust his genuineness. Because of mutual mistrust, those opposed to Museveni can’t join forces and form a united front.
A key factor in weakening and finally defeating an authoritarian regime is having members of the inner ruling group defect, something that General Museveni has successfully managed. If the supposed defection of General Sejusa last year, even for the symbolism of it, was a major blow to the establishment, his suspicious return to the country, by contrast, grants a massive boost to a rather beleaguered autocrat!
As the late Ogen Kevin Aliro, arguably the most intrepid and irreplaceable journalist of his generation, succinctly argued in a 2004 opinion, reproduced in The Observer on Wednesday, Sejusa was not being true to himself in 2004. Ten years later, he is being more disingenuous than truthful!
Let’s grant that for tactical considerations, Sejusa decided to bring the fight for a better Uganda back inside Uganda, closer to where the problem is, and in alliance with like-minded forces on the ground. Why couldn’t he tell the world that he had decided to return home and should be expected any time?
He needed not specify the exact date and time he would arrive, perhaps to avoid causing unnecessary commotion. But he should have made it clear that he was on his way back home regardless of whatever negotiations he had entered into with the powers that be in Kampala (or is it Entebbe?).
In May last year, shortly after it emerged that Sejusa had fallen out with a regime he had served so enthusiastically and was holed-up in London, I wrote in this column that the maverick general was at once a brilliant yet deeply-soiled player in the Museveni regime. For that matter, I reasoned, he and Museveni needed each other, thus the falling out wouldn’t happen.
For close to two years, Sejusa had proved me wrong through his incessant and stern statements haranguing the Museveni regime and stripping bare the chinks in the emperor’s armour.
Now it appears that his return in the wee hours of Sunday has given me a lease of life: my prediction may have been right. But I will be happy to be proven wrong. Over to you, General Sejusa…
The author is a PhD candidate in Political Science at Northwestern University, EvanstonChicago-USA.
Source : The Observer