28 May 2016

Uganda: Kampala Court Rules Sejusa Not a Serving Army Officer

Photo: The Observer
Some of the convicts in the Military Court Martial dock in 2015.

The High Court in Kampala on Saturday brought to a halt a longstanding dispute between the military and General David Sejusa over his retirement, declaring that he was no longer a serving officer of the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF).

Justice Margaret Oguli Oumo in her ruling on May 28 said "Sejusa has served for so long in the police and army; all the people he served with in the high command are all retired and have not been any threat to security as a result of the same. The State refusing to retire him is a glaring act of discrimination against him."

The judge ruled that Gen Sejusa was constructively discharged from the army since he no longer received a salary and other benefits, nor had he been deployed for the last one-and-a-half years.

The ruling comes against a backdrop of charges the general, a former co-ordinator of intelligence services and previously known as Tinyefunza, faces at a military court that include absence without official leave, participating in partisan political activities and insubordination.

Justice Oumo said by taking away Sejusa's tools of trade such as uniforms and guns, withdrawing guards, and not paying him his arrears and allowances, the army had made him a captive.

Sejusa had petitioned the High Court challenging his trial at the military court on account that he had been constructively retired from the army and was not subject to martial law.

After the ruling, Gen Sejusa told The EastAfrican, "This is an extraordinary moment. At last the world knows that I ceased being part of the army and now I have a legal backing."

But the army has however said it will appeal.

"We are very disappointed with the ruling on Gen Sejusa. We find it flawed and the State will appeal against it," the army spokesman Paddy Ankunda posted on Twitter shortly after the ruling.

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