Uganda’s head of Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, Maj Gen Abel Kandiho, has been removed from his position and posted to South Sudan in a yet to be named position, army sources said on Tuesday.
Gen Kandiho will be replaced by Maj Gen James Birungi.
Gen Birungi has been on a special assignment to monitor the guarantors of the South Sudan peace process, and previously has served as Chief of Air Force Staff of the Uganda Peoples Defense Air Force and also as commander of the Special Forces Command.
Analysts say the development, coming hot on the heels of two emissaries meeting President Paul Kagame, means President Yoweri Museveni is ceding more ground on the conditions that Rwanda tabled before the two countries’ relations can be restored.
Rwanda had demanded that Gen Kandiho be removed from the CMI post.
The Rwanda leader first met President Museveni’s special envoy who is also Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Adonia Ayebare, on January 18. The envoy delivered a special message from the Ugandan leader to President Kagame.
Four days later, President Kagame received Uganda’s first son and UPDF Commander Land Forces, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, at Urugwiro in Kigali.
Details of these visits remain unknown but revolve around the thawing of relations between Rwanda and Uganda. The sour relations led to Rwanda closing the Katuna/Gatuna border in February 2019, which remains closed to date.
Kigali cited and demanded the removal of Maj Gen Kandiho. It claimed that under his watch, CMI operatives engaged in human rights abuses, including kidnap, torture and imprisonment of hundreds of Rwandans in Uganda. This is one of the issues that led to the countries’ falling out.
Who is Gen. Kandiho
Major General Abel Kandiho, who has worked at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence for the bigger part of his military career as an officer and later heading it, also worked at the Ugandan High Commission in Kigali in the early 2000s.
Previously, before May 2014, he served as the Commander of Makindye Military Barracks – the headquarters of the UPDF Military Police.
On May 30, 2014, he was replaced in that position by Colonel Emmanuel Kanyesigye. Kandiho stayed on as Deputy Commander.
In December 2021, the United States placed sanctions on Kandiho over his alleged involvement in cases of human rights violations, which he denied.