28 August 2013

Uganda: Exiled General Accuses Museveni of Murder, as Government Dismisses His Allegations

Photo: New Vision/File
Uganda forces (file photo): The president has allegedly been accused of killing army soldiers and misusing its for funds for his election campaigns.

Kampala — A renegade Ugandan General who fled to the United Kingdom after accusing president Yoweri Museveni of having a plot to have his son succeed him as the next president has in a stinging letter accused the Ugandan leader of murder.

General David Sejusa, a legislator in Uganda's parliament and until recently the Coordinator of Intelligence Services and a member of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) high command fled to London last April after writing a letter requesting the intelligence services to investigate allegations that those opposed to "Project Muhoozi" - a reference to an alleged plot by Museveni to have his son succeed him- were at the risk of being murdered.

Museveni's son, Brig Muhoozi Kainerguga has rapidly risen in ranks from a junior army officer to a one star general in the last decade which has also seen him attend elite military colleges in Britain and the United States, among others. This has led to speculation in Uganda that he is being groomed by his father to be President.

Last month a Ugandan soldier serving in Somalia was arrested after he asked Muhoozi, who was on a visit to the war-torn country, to explain why some soldiers remain on the same rank for a long period of time while other are "fast tracked".

Muhoozi is the commander of the elite special forces which is tasked with protecting the president and Uganda's strategic assets such as the oil fields.

In a letter released through his lawyer on Sunday, Sejusa alleges that the Museveni had a role in the deaths of a former minister in the late 1980's and more recently of Major General James Kazini, a former military commander of the Ugandan Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF).

Kazini was killed in November 2009. His mistress, Lydia Draru in whose house the soldier was hit on the head with a blunt object, confessed to the murder and is serving a 14 year jail term.

But Gen. Sejusa in his letter says Draru was not the killer. He claims Museveni had a role in the death of Kazini for allegedly sending money meant to help topple him to elements within the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA).

"Actually Museveni did the same with Maj. Gen James Kazini when he accused him that he was sending money to elements in Southern Sudan (SPLA) and West Nile veterans to topple him. That's when Museveni ordered his execution by procuring the services of a 6-foot 6-inches man to murder Gen Kazini. Forget that trash of [Lydia] Draru", Sejusa says in his letter that has been widely discussed on-line in Uganda and published by some newspapers.

But in a furious response on Tuesday, Ofwono Opondo, the Director of the Uganda Media Centre and the government spokesperson dismissed Sejusa as being "high on drugs".

"The most incredulous is that president Museveni could have had a hand in the death of Gen Kazini who died in the hands of his girlfriend Lydia Draru who confessed before a court of law", he told the media in Kampala on Tuesday.

"Sejusa has gone into a sewer pipe or else we think he could be high on drugs", added the government spokesman.

In a separate interview with Sudan Tribune on Wednesday, Ofwono Opondo said the renegade general is telling lies.

"Sejusa has run out of his mind. No reasonable person can believe him particularly in the case of Kazini where his girlfriend confessed of murdering him. Does Sejusa want to say that the courts of law relied on hearsay?" he asked.

"Sejusa has gone down the sewer line. He is collapsing and he wants everyone to collapse with him", Ofwono said.

The Ugandan government spokesperson further said that Sejusa is engaged in a smear campaign against Uganda aimed at enabling him get asylum in the United Kingdom.

The most recent letter from London by the army officer was prompted by an article published in a Ugandan newspaper which claimed that US $8 million was transferred to him in the UK using a Kampala forex bureau. Sejusa denies he received such an amount of money.

"First of all, I don't know of any close relative who runs a forex bureau. Who indeed would have access to US $8 million."

Last week, Paddy Ankunda, a spokesperson for the Uganda military said Gen Sejusa could be charged with treason.

Asked whether there are any plans by Uganda to extradite the renegade General from the UK, spokesman Ofwono Opondo said "we have not reached that level yet. We haven't even bothered to ask for extradition."

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