It is now within the public domain that retired Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde is interested in running for Kampala Lord Mayorship which post is currently occupied by Erias Lukwago who has links with the Democratic Party (DP).
Many voters in Kampala are wondering why the independent minded military general, a retired senior military officer of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) is bidding to be the next Lord Mayor of Kampala Capital City Authority (KCCA) come 2021.
Tumukunde, a lawyer by training, is a former security minister, having been appointed to that position on June 6, 2016. Though he would later be relieved of his duties by President Museveni, Tumukunde said he was not incompetent and that being in Cabinet was not the only option available to him.
He is also among the youngest generation among the people who participated in the 1981-86 war that brought the current regime into power and therefore, this makes him a middle bridge between the old guards and the young generation and a better alternative for the Kampala and national transition.
“What is important is that the [appointing] authority should be allowed space to maneuver and I can also tell you that there are so many options in politics [other than Cabinet]…,” Tumukunde is quoted in a leading daily. His bid for Kampala Lord Mayor has not gone well with the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) which for years now has failed to capture that seat despite spending massively in the campaigns.
Much he was relieved of his duties by Museveni, Tumukunde is said to have gathered intelligence on former IGP’s Kale Kayihura’s security dealings that Museveni didn’t like and as such caused Kayihura to be detained in Makindye Military barracks. His bid for Kampala Mayor is a testimony that Tumukunde is a nationalist who does not ride on tribal inclinations to achieve his objectives. His support cuts across tribes, religion, political inclinations, education. That his bid is likely to shape Kampala politics for a better.
Tumukunde is a war veteran, who credits himself for being part of the group that led the five-year National Resistance Army (NRA) rebellion that brought President Museveni to power in 1986. He had previously served as the UPDF 4th Division commander, Chief of Military Intelligence and later Director General of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO).
Gen. Tumukunde ran into trouble with the regime over his public opposition to the removal of presidential age limit in 2005. He would later be remanded for years on charges of spreading harmful propaganda, for which he was acquitted, and military misconduct, for which he was convicted and sentenced to a severe reprimand in 2013.
After his confinement, Tumukunde he played a key role in President Museveni’s re-election campaign, neutralising former premier Amama Mbabazi’s political plans and was named a minister after Museveni won the election in 2016.
Tumukunde is one of the youngest of the NRA generals alongise Maj. Gen. Mugisha Muntu of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT). Like Besigye, he is an odored son of Rukungiri where he is regarded as the people’s man. He has proved to be one of the top political mobilisers and Kampala needs such politicians at the time when activities are not being implemented well due to lack of political mobilization. He is a practical person who likes going to the ground rather than warming the chair all day.
That aside, Tumukunde could among other benefits, be very useful as far as the security of Kampala residents is concerned. Right now security of citizens and their property the most pressing issue as goons kidnap and murder citizens in Kampala and surrounding areas.
The general’s bid has been welcomed and already he as met groups such as women leaders in Rubaga Division to brainstorm about a number of issues affecting ‘Omuntu Wawansi’ including but not limited to domestic violence and ways of supporting income generating projects.