It has been long since Joel Kamadhi came to the Mutungo Malwa club, having been away for his daughter’s give away ceremony last weekend. It was during this time that President Yoweri Museveni, who is also the Commander-in-Chief of the UPDF made changes in his command structures, naming a new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) and also redeploying his son Major General Muhoozi Kainerugaba from being the Commander Special Forces to becoming Special Presidential Advisor in charge of Operations. “You people, what do you make of the new changes in the army?” Kamadhi asked, only to be met with blank stares from the club members who thought he was pulling their legs. Then Kamadhi volunteered unsolicited information on most of those affected either positively or negatively by the changes, by ticking off one-by-one.
Gen Katumba Wamala
“Well, I think it was time for General Katumba Wamala and his deputy Charles Angina to go after the Police Chief Gen. Kale Kayihura said that there are mafia in the UPDF and Police,” Kamadhi started off. According to Kamadhi, Gen Katumba courted some controversy and might have rubbed his boss the wrong way when he disclosed that he was not involved in the plans to attack King Charles Wesley Mumbere’s palace in Kasese. Further, Kamadhi said, Gen Katumba was a ‘soft’ Commander, something he said some of his juniors latched on to create intrigue in the forces for self-gain purposes. According to Kamadhi, Gen Wamala assumed the office of the CDF when there was intrigue between several senior officers after renegade Gen David Sejusa penned the ‘Muhozi Project’ dossier that among others mentioned former Prime Minister John Patrick Amama Mbabazi and former CDF General Aronda Nyakairima (RIP), as targets of an assassination for allegedly opposing the ‘project’. “But Gen Katumba is an accomplished soldier and ‘a home boy’; you know he saved Gen Salim Saleh in 1981, when the two worked together in Karamoja as Cadet Officers in the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), and late President Milton Obote, who had come to power after his Uganda Peoples Congress (UPC) won a contested election, wanted to eliminate Saleh, President Museveni’s brother,” Kamadhi told the members, apparently drawing on his years experience with the political goings-on in Uganda. He added: “Given their closeness, Gen Katumba was made Aide de Camp to Gen Saleh after the 1986 liberation war that ushered in the NRM to power.”
Lt.Gen. Charles Angina
According to Kamadhi, during the elections Gen Angina was reportedly involved in the politics in Teso, and at ‘war’ with the former Minister of Internal Affairs and Bukedea Woman MP Rose Akol, in the process favouring Forum for Democratic Change (FDC’s) Anita Among, who eventually stood as an Independent and defeated Akol, leaving a bitter taste in the former minister’s mouth. “The General together with a businessman with interests in a hotel in Mbale told the President that Amongi is a power broker in the Teso region, leading Museveni to visit her home three times during the elections,” Kamadhi said, adding that it is during their interactions that her potential came to light. Indeed, according to Kamadhi, Among’s star is ever-rising in Museveni’s eyes, prompting the President to make her act like his ‘peace envoy’ to the troubled Kasese and also in South Sudan, where she has reportedly accompanied him twice. “But you see Mzee (Museveni) does not want the army dabbling in politics,” so you never know Angina’s fate might have been sealed because of his support for Among,” Kamadhi said.
Brig. Charles Bakahumura
Then there is the former Chief of Military Intelligence Brigadier Charles Bakahumura and, according to Kamadhi he was a close confidant of Gen Aronda, who started his spy work with the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), from where he was seconded to the CMI as boss. “That job is tricky and like so many before him, the man from Buhweju developed so many foes among the top brass of the army including the other service chiefs and this might have consumed him,” Kamadhi said, without delving much into detail, arguing that he did not know much about the former CMI boss.
Generals David Muhoozi and Wilson Mbadi
According to Kamadhi, the new CDF and his deputy, General David Muhoozi and Lt.Gen. Wilson Mbadi, respectively, are clean with no record of corruption in their former stations. They are also rated alongside first son, Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kaneirugaba, who was named Senior Presidential Advisor in charge of Special Operations. “The army needed a strict disciplinarian like General David Muhoozi for he doesn’t compromise on positions in which he believes,” Kamadhi said. Also, having served as ADC to Museveni and later as UPDF Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS), Gen. Mbadi’s acquits himself as an accomplished officer, Kamadhi said before bidding us goodnight.
But Kamadhi returned shortly, only to tell the members that officers like Otema Awany, Nakibus Lakara and Sam Turyagenda had not eaten ‘big’ in their new assignments.