Renegade general in shock return to the fold

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Army general David Sejusa, who returned to Uganda from exile on Sunday, is seeking a discharge from the army in order to be “free to do what a civilian does”, according to his lawyer.

President Yoweri Museveni denies grooming his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba (pictured) to be his successor
President Yoweri Museveni denies grooming his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba (pictured) to be his successor

Sejusa has been living in the UK since, in 2013, he demanded an investigation into an assassination plot linked to President Yoweri Museveni’s alleged succession plan, under which the president would step down and hand over power to his son Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba. He petitioned the administration to investigate rumours of a plot to assassinate senior administration officials opposed to the plan.

The army rejected Sejusa’s claims and accused him of breaching an official code of conduct. He was also accused of leaking his petition to the press after a newspaper published the contents of the letter demanding the inquiry.

Senior administration officials accused Sejusa of harbouring presidential ambitions and spreading rumours to create divisions within the army. His lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuuzi says the government has yet to officially press charges against Sejusa.

“There is no pending charge in any court of law in Uganda against him. And that could largely mean that they will not charge him because they have had the whole year to do so. They could have extradited him from the UK if they had wanted [and] if there were any pending charges in Uganda, but they didn’t,” said Rwakafuuzi.

“There were those overzealous people who made all sorts of statements, we shall arrest him, [and] we shall take him to court. All these things were said but, nothing in writing,” he added.

Some security analysts said Sejusa’s decision to go into exile was the right move for his safety, but expressed surprise about his return home. Rwakafuuzi says the government will protect his client. “This morning the president of Uganda has been trying to get him security and actually asked him to choose his own people who would give him security,” said Rwakafuuzi.

Until he went into exile, General Sejusa was coordinator for Uganda’s intelligence agencies at the president’s office and considered a close ally of President Museveni. However, he subsequently became critical of the rapid promotion within the army of Mr Museveni’s son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who is now a brigadier-general in charge of special forces. Sejusa’s return from exile came a day before Uganda’s ruling party holds a conference during which Mr Museveni, 70, is expected to be named as its presidential candidate for the election in 2016.