Uganda has unveiled an eight-year timetable that will see nearly all generals from the bush war era retire.
Among those to exit the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is Gen David Sejusa, who will be retired next year.
Two years after the former Coordinator of Intelligence Services walks away from an army with which he has had a love-and-hate relationship for more than three decades, Gen Sejusa (formerly known as Tinyefuza) will be joined in civilian life by police chief,
Gen Kale Kayihura, whose year of retirement on the schedule is 2020.
Early notice strategy
Gen Kayihura is set to leave with another notable, Maj Gen Pecos Kuteesa, who, along with President Yoweri Museveni and the opposition leader, Col (Rtd) Dr Kizza Besigye, have recorded the events of that guerrilla war in books.
A year later, long-serving army representative in Parliament, Gen Elly Tumwine, will say his good byes. Joining him will be Lt Gen Ivan Koreta, who goes in 2019.
UPDF spokesman, Brig Richard Karemire, confirmed the plan to the Saturday Monitor, saying “it is an early notice strategy” premised on the need to prepare for proper retirement.
“The same happens in Civil Service when upon joining, one gets to know when they will be retiring. So, it is the same thing we are rolling out that as one joins the service, they as well know when they will be leaving,” Brig Karemire said.
At least 2,175 officers and men will leave the army over the next eight years, including nearly all bush war generals, who between 1980 and 1986 fought alongside Mr Museveni at Luweero against the government of two-time former president, Apollo Milton
Obote, and the short-lived Gen Tito Okello military junta. That war brought Mr Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government to power in January 1986.
Former head at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, the bookish Maj Gen James Mugira, takes his bow in 2023.
The commander of Land Forces, Maj Gen Peter Elwelu, the man who in November last year commanded the deadly operation which left more than 130 civilians, including women and children, dead as the police and army raided the royal seat of Rwenzururu's King Charles Wesley Mumbere in Kasese, leaves in 2024.
Gen Sejusa applied for retirement when he returned from exile in 2014, but was refused. From next year, he will be free to indulge his passion for politics – an option unavailable to serving personnel who are barred from partisan political activity by law. He has continually accused President Museveni of using military law to hold army officers “hostage”, an allegation the army has dismissed.
The General is amongst the highest ranking officers who have made no secret of his opposition inclinations, all but denouncing the Museveni leadership as a dictatorship.
The first batch of about 400 soldiers, including senior and junior officers, will retire in November. The last group leaves in 2025. Two batches will be retired every year, starting next year.
According to military sources, the new army leadership says the programme is to help soldiers know early when they will retire for good planning. The UPDF has more than 50,000 officers and men.