22 May 2018

Uganda: Tumukunde Speaks On His Sacking

Photo: The Observer
Former security minister Henry Tumukunde, right, with the former inspector general of police Kale Kayihura (file photo).

Rukungiri — The former security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, has for the first time spoken out about his sacking in March and said he was not "incompetent" and could bounce to Cabinet "anytime".

He had only been on the job for 21 months.

"It can't have been because I am incompetent; I can come back to Cabinet anytime," he told this newspaper in an interview at the weekend.

He added: "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]... "

President Museveni fired Gen Tumukunde together with Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, at the height of public spat between the two.

The feuding, according to some insiders, had stymied cooperation between police and intelligence agencies and threatened to derail national security agenda.

Gen Tumukunde was replaced with Gen Elly Tumwine, a war veteran, who credits himself for firing the first shot that began the five-year National Resistance Army (NRA) rebellion that brought President Museveni to power in 1986.

Gen Tumukunde had previously served as the UPDF 4th Division commander, Chief of Military Intelligence and later Director General of the Internal Security Organisation.

He ran into trouble over his public opposition to the scrapping 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 rehabilitation, he played a key role in President Museveni's re-election campaign, neutralising former premier Amama Mbabazi's political machinery and was named a minister after the ballot.

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