Gen. David Sejusa– ready for change
Subject: LAUNCH OF ONLINE GAZETTE AND WEBSITE
Fellow Ugandans, I greet you all.
I have been asked by FREE UGANDA LEADERSHIP COMMITTEE to launch the new FU website and an online gazette which our friends have helped us to put in place.
Before I launch them, let me give a brief history, lest we forget how it all started.
When I left Uganda on the 30/4/2013, I was not running away to live in exile as many have been speculating.
It is true we had embarked on a process to cause change as far back as October 2011 following the breakdown of civil authority in the way government was handling opposition complaints following the elections. But my struggle against Mr. Museveni’s dictatorial tendencies dates back to the bush war, 1981-1986.
For instance, I see many revisionists casting my opposition to Museveni in 1984 as merely about a woman. When true history is ultimately written, it will show that it was a struggle against the following systems: about nepotism; and, about dictatorial and blatant disregard of procedures and rules. And it was not only this issue of women combatants etc, it covered other areas which have not been discussed. But these will be discussed in the future.
Suffice to state that due to lack of accountability culture and serious consideration for institutional rule, we have witnessed the degrading of the formal state and emergence of personal rule based on patronage, incredible corruption and actually, open subversion of the constitution.
Indeed, after we took power, these tendencies of no accountability were to lead to the morally and politically wrong decision to extend NRM rule without an election contrary to the promise we had made to the country and which had been overwhelmingly supported by all before we took power in 1986.
Again, at this time, some of us stood with some civilian politicians like Hon. Ziritwawula to oppose the move. Again a meeting of the High Command was called and the chairman, Mr. Museveni issued an order that Gen. Muntu would be the only one to speak in NRC about this matter and indeed, he went and gave that “collective” view that NRA supported the extension, which was a misrepresentation of what actually transpired in that meeting in Entebbe –the minutes of the meeting later found their way to some members of NRC and it caused problems for the late Col. Selwanga Lwanga. Copies are still available for all to see. When I objected, I was told to go and speak in favour if I wanted or not attend. I chose not to attend that NRC session.
In 1994-5 during Constituent Assembly (CA), I faced an existential threat when I opposed Mr. Museveni’s open subversion against the process. I used to warn my colleagues that what was happening would come back to haunt us. Many thought I was an alarmist. See where the country is now, and how many people we are losing, and the squandered opportunities.
When I supported Federo during Constituent Assembly, I was the only person from the government side to vote with the opposition.
And then I wanted the opening up of political space, this time with Dr. Besigye and Col Sserwanga Lwanga, the threats against us were huge. I remember Mzee Bidandi Ssali angrily asking me in a Buganda caucus meeting that sat at Kampala City Council (KCC) chambers whether I had gone to the bush to fight for Federo.
I just laughed. I saw people who now had assumed the status of givers and not mere custodians. I knew we were heading for trouble. I was later to meet my great friend Jaberi who I take as among a few honest men we had around, and he told me “General ebintu byammwe bizibu”. (Gen, your things are difficult to understand).
In fact at the time, many of the people now leading opposition parties who were still in NRM then considered me a spoiler. I warned them then, as I am warning others now, that the danger that faces our country is real and the consequences will be dire.
Then in 1996, I tried but failed to convince Mr. Museveni not to contest in that election, but instead to allow a civilian to stand and we hand power to the people to avoid future problems. This was during the High Command meeting at Nakasero.
In an earlier meeting, Mr. Museveni had told us that we should never allow anyone to come and spoil our country! I asked him “Then why waste time and subject the country to an election that we knew we had to win?” I felt that the ideals for which I had fought and was shot twice during the war were being betrayed.
I went and decided to support Dr. Kawanga Ssemogerere to stand against Mr. Museveni. What many may not know is that Dr. Kawanga Ssemogerere was not ready yet because he had been threatened.
I personally picked the late Kakyama Mayanja from his Lungujja home and together we went and picked Dr. Kawanga from his Rubaga home in Late Kakyama’s Cross Country vehicle, and drove him to the place where he announced his resignation from NRM government as second deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs.
Mr. Museveni wanted to sack him first so that he goes with no political capital. At least I saved him from the Dr. Kisekka humiliation, and the type of humiliation that Mbabazi is now facing. He then declared his candidature against Museveni.
When Museveni called me in the presence of Salim Saleh to explain why I was fighting them, I told them that I wanted to save Uganda, because beyond this, we shall have another Luweero. Museveni threatened to arrest me but feared the backlash, the same dilemma he is facing now. There is a detailed document on this, but it is good Mzee Hon. Dr. Ssemogerere is still with us.
In 1996, I went a step further, and I almost paid the ultimate price, when I exposed the evils in the northern Ugandan war, and the corruption, and warned against those Internally Displaced People’s camps which Museveni had introduced because he refused to heed our advice against a rushed Reduction in Force (RIF).
In fact Mr. Museveni ordered me to go to parliament and support it, and he also told me to go to the then British High Commissioner (1992) and apologise for opposing it. I found it impossible to support a policy that I knew would lead to death of thousands. I had advocated for a phased approach to keep us with enough troops to cover the ground as we saved incrementally to modernise the army. Museveni rejected this. I left command in 1992 but knew that those coming would face an impossible task. In 1994, IDPs were introduced to try and solve the lack of adequate soldiers on the ground, just as we had warned. So the tragedies of those camps must lie squarely with Mr. Museveni.
In 2005, while at the Command and staff College Kimaka, we who were members of parliament, were herded to Kampala to support the motion to remove term limits. I decided not to go to Kampala. Then the Commandant at time got an order at 6pm that day that we had to attend the next day without fail — that we were not expected to have individual views on such an important issue. But this was primarily a political issue, how could we not have views? Gen. Tumwine called us again at 10pm that night to let us know that, he also had got an order that we all had to leave by day break. As they say, the rest is history. Those are the circumstances under which Term Limits were removed. Yet this was the CORNERSTONE of the 1995 Constitution. And we are likely to pay dearly for this as a country.
There are many areas that we have been involved in to resist the dictatorship. The important point to note is that they are within the confines of the law. Non is in contravention of the constitution. Therefore, there was never any reason for me or any of my compatriots to flee our country and live in exile.
Even after the terror regime had ran amok and ransacked my offices, arresting innocent officers and civilians working under me on 5/5/2013, (many of these are still languishing in prison on trumped up charges,) I went ahead and confirmed my flight home from the UK on BA on 8/5/13 for my journey home on the 9th. That night of 8th, the Museveni regime carried out a military deployment intending to arrest and harm me.
This type of military deployment was not only cowardly but utterly scandalous to say the least. Entebbe international airport was surrounded with combat troops. A total of 13 tanks and 19 armoured personnel carriers of UPDF were deployed (directly or in reserve role) 6 police APCs, with 3 fire brigade utility vehicles and thousands of police in riot gear lined the 36 kilometer road from Kampala to Entebbe.
A helicopter gunship was at the runway. The other two were at Entebbe state house lawn on standby. The airport was surrounded, roads closed and road blocks mounted in 12 places along that Entebbe highway.
This type of deployment was criminal in both intent and action. Indeed, in the history of our country, more guns were deployed against an unarmed individual, travelling in a civilian airline (British Airways) than was deployed at the capture of Kampala, in both instances, by the Tanzanians in 1979 against Idi Amin and by NRA in 1986 against the Lutwa junta.
Such was the level of panic and reckless mode of the near failed state that it was only reasonable for me to delay my return home.
The regime of Mr. Museveni learns nothing at all. Having messed up big time in my case, one would expect the regime to draw lessons and to be less belligerent, and act in a civil manner; but alas, as we saw when they attacked Mr. Mbabazi’s home, in his absence, with no due regard to civilized conduct for a party Secretary General. They brandished guns at his family, entered private premises without a search warrant, and generally caused mayhem, which forced Mrs. Mbabazi to desperately try to protect her homestead.
These acts show a regime that is drunk with power, where the legal boundaries that protect citizens from state abuse are ignored and peoples’ rights trampled upon with impunity.
For those who may not know, prior to Mr. Mbabazi’s sacking and humiliation, the entire UPDF had been put-on standby class one. Two reinforced units had been deployed, one with elements from Special Forces Command (SFC) at summit view and other reinforced unit at Makindye and then Mbuya.
The operational orders with my son Brigadier Leo Kyanda, which he got from “above” (you know where) had a mission “to take Kololo Nyonyi gardens target XQ and neutralise the threat”.
So that attack on Mbabazi’s residence and offices were not normal deployments as I saw my government struggling to spin. You don’t surround someone’s residence with 200 soldiers, raid escorts’ homes at 2 am, ransack a private residence in full glare of cameras, and then tell us that it is normal.
What this message should show though, even to my elder brother Ndugu Rugunda, someone I have worked with very closely in the past, is that all should stand warned. Ndugu, “orukooko ruri omukarugu”. (The hyenas lay in wait nearby).
It is one year and 5 months since I left my country. But the clever people who begot me have a saying that, Ozayisanga notafisa, or Kuri ozasya otafise! (simply put: “it is better for a loved one to live in a foreign land but be alive than dead at home!”) — for victory is for the living. Although the dead can also win over the living in some instances. Especially over those we refer to as “abagwiire eruguru” or “the walking dead”. Those who become door mats for these dictators.
Anyway, despite my exile, a lot of work is being done both at the home front and in the diaspora. I thank all those who are making this possible. It is also gratifying to note that all that I warned about has come to pass. And even those not yet so obvious. Mission creep is on. It is a matter of time. NOTHING BEATS TIME.
What then has been achieved since then?
Despite the disruption caused by my failure to return home, nevertheless, a lot has been achieved. With joint action with others, both inside and outside the country, the liberation struggle has taken on a new character.
There has been
1-the galvanisation of a united people-based mass liberation struggle, covering all areas and sectors in the country. FREE UGANDA, a broad based political liberation platform has embarked on a non-partisan empowerment plan for all. FU is not a political party, it’s a vanguard front for all, irrespective of political beliefs one may have. To build capacity.
2- the ideological shift in the country towards a broad-based, multi-pronged approach with a vibrant debate on the ways and means to achieve liberation as provided for under the constitution of Uganda.
3- diplomatic victories against the dictatorship, not only in the region but internationally. These are many and important but I will spell them out later.
4- increased political awareness about the popular discontent in the country against the dictatorship.
5- the exposure of the glaring facts which show the inevitable collapse of the formal state and internal disintegration of NRM.
6- a new strategy of opposition forces building joint capacity irrespective of their historical configurations.
7- the agreement on the minimum political programme for the country to help shape a new Uganda. This is of course a continuing process but I must say we are on the right course. There are other areas I will cover later but I must say that organisationally we are more sound.
In launching this website and the gazette, I wish to thank all those who have assisted us in this endeavour. I am told Museveni’s statehouse spent 600 million shillings to construct its website. Ours has cost us 600 pounds (2 million shillings). That shows the magnitude of the corruption and decadence of the Museveni government. Indeed, the American ambassador ably put it that corruption is the new Aids (slim/hiv/aids) of Uganda. It could not have been put better!
Fellow Ugandans, just know that Uganda is our country. No one has a right to abuse it, let alone destroy it. Millions have sacrificed for that country through the years. Our grandmothers and fathers, in a joint national effort.
We too, the current generation have sacrificed and many have paid the ultimate price. Therefore, it is those who choose to do nothing that commit treason not us who have chosen to do something.
Make no mistake, the people will ultimately win. And as the events in Burkina Faso show, even those in positions of leadership who corroborate and help prolong that dictatorship, the people in popular uprising will neautralise them. So they need to start doing the right thing before it is too late.
I now have the pleasure to launch the Free Uganda website and online gazette.
I thank you all.
For god and my country.
General David Sejusa
CHAIRMAN FREE UGANDA
The link to
Free Uganda website and online gazette: