INVESTIGATION: The Inside Story Behind Brig. Mugira Transfer From CMI


more about geneva;”>In the new changes, ed Museveni transferred Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence boss Brig. James Mugira to head Luweero Defence Industries.

sickness geneva;”>Following the reshuffle, launched a three-month investigation to establish why the President’s blue-eyed military boy was relieved of the sensitive military intelligence docket.

The transfer raised concerns in some circles and was thought to be a kind of demotion.

Our investigations indicate that Museveni wanted to revamp the crucial installation involved in manufacture of classified defence equipment.

Like any defence industries worldwide, this is a strategic facility.

From a national security perspective and to ensure appropriate sovereignty each country needs such capacity for self reliance, research and development into new weapon systems to address emerging threats and to guard against threats.

They include sanctions, arms embargoes against the regime or even effects of instability from neighbours such as Kenya.

It’s important to note that Uganda is a land locked country.

The geopolitical position of the country is an essential point considering that in case war broke out leading to the destruction of infrastructure along Jinja highway, Uganda would pay through the nose to receive military supplies by air.

So it was paramount to appoint a trusted military chief to oversee manufacture of modern weapons at the Luweero industries.

We have also established that Luwero Industries has been selected by the East African Community under the Defence Cooperation as one of the facilities to be shared by the region and therefore has to be put to modern standards.

The facility had been run down and required total revamping hence need for good leadership.


Our impeccable security sources say this is the third most strategic office where a senior military officer has been deployed.

The first was Police where it was felt things were not going well and Lt Gen Katumba was deployed there followed by Lt. Gen. Kale Kayihura as the Inspector General of Police.

The second was the appointment of Brig. Noble Mayombo as Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence and the third being the deployment of Brig. Mugira as Managing Director of Luweero Industries.

Apart from Command functions, there are two offices considered strategic in the Ministry of defence which have to be occupied by trusted cadres

The first one is Defense Permanent Secretary- currently occupied by Rossette Byengoma whose contract has recently been renewed (formerly occupied by Late Brig Noble Mayombo and where Brig Mugira had been widely expected to be deployed since Mayombos death.)

Before the deployment of late Mayombo as Permanent Secretary, there was a feeling that a Senior Military officer and cadre would best serve in that position.

The second is leadership of Luweero industries – formerly headed by Jacqueline Mbabazi, a historical member of the NRA struggle and wife of the Premier Amama Mbabazi.

It’s important to note that Mbabazi had succeeded Capt. Innocent Bisangwa, formerly Private Secretary to President Museveni in charge of Security and Defence matters (who was by coincidence replaced by Brig Mugira at State House as Private Secretary when Bisangwa got problems and was arrested in the USA for involvement in purchase of TOW missiles).

Investigations indicate that both the Permanent Secretary and MD Luwero Industries report directly to the President”


We have also established that at Luweero Industries, Brig Mugira has been paired with Maj. Johnson Namanya, formerly Acting Commander of the Special Forces Group. Namanya is also the President’s most trusted officer who had just returned from a course in United Kingdom and has now been promoted to Lieutenant Colonel.

On Relations with Rwanda

The transfer of Mugira to Luweero Industries triggered a huge public debate and media speculation that the military intelligence officer had been transferred for his alleged connections with Rwanda renegade general Kayumba Nyamwasa and Col. Patrick Karegeya.

Therefore, according to media reports, in a bid to appease President Paul Kagame, the Ugandan leader decided to ‘sacrifice’ Mugira – who was reportedly in touch with the exiled Rwanda generals plotting to remove the Rwandan leader from power.

However, our investigations indicate that Brig. Mugira is one of the few senior UPDF officers highly respected by officers of the Rwanda Army.

“Mugira worked hard to restore Uganda/ Rwanda relations right from the time he headed the Uganda team on the Joint Uganda/Rwanda Investigations and Verification Committee brokered by Rt Hon Claire Short (His counterpart on the Rwanda side was Colonel now Lt Gen Charles Kayonga now the Chief of Defence Forces) and later as Chief of Military Intelligence,” a reliable source confirmed.

“Mugira used both his official position and his personal relationship with a number of senior officers both in Government and the Rwanda Defence Forces to restore relations between the two countries after the Kisangani clashes,” the military source, who has known Mugira since the NRA war days, recounts.

Mugira was at school with many of the senior officers in the Rwanda Army and worked with them, including President Kagame at Basiima House headquarters of NRA Directorate of Military Intelligence.

This was shortly after NRA captured power in 1986.

At the much publicized President Museveni’s visit to Rwanda last year to mend relations with President Kagame, Brig Mugira is the only senior military officer who accompanied the President.

Mugira was photographed in company of Rwanda Defence Minister Gen. James Kabareebe, Gen. Kayonga and Jack Nziza. The officers from the two countries were spotted smiling and cracking jokes.


But our research now shows that during Mugira’s three year term as the CMI, there was no attack by the ADF because of the intelligence counter measures that were put in place including establishing a Joint Intelligence Centre at Beni where UPDF officers under Maj Muwonge were deployed.

Mugira did not only coordinate efforts for the establishment of the base but also another East African Defence Counter terrorism Centre based in Nairobi where Jamil Mukulu, the leader of ADF, was planning all his activities. Maj Muwonge has since been deployed to the Nairobi office.

Mugira also coordinated operations between Uganda troops and DRC authorities that staved off ADF plans to attack western Uganda from Congo.


Despite living a low-profile, Mugira turned around the image of the once dreaded CMI under then Col. Leopold Kyanda.

The facilities were rotting away, military operatives were involved in extortion and agents’ salaries were always swindled.

As soon as he was transferred from Masaka Mechanized Brigade, Mugira immediately gave orders that all CMI and JATT officers must get out of the bed with the press and media.

There had previously been very negative press reports about CMI and JATT of safe houses, crocodiles, torture, extortion etc which the opposition used to discredit Government.

“In a bid to restore public confidence and improve the facility’s human rights record, Mugira transferred all the officers named in various scandals and built a professional team at CMI,” a source who preferred anonymity said.

Mugira restored espirit de corps among staff and instilled discipline in officers and men of CMI. During his reign, CMI never had any scandals like those of Black Mamba and the Human Rights Watch Report which came out after he assumed office was covering incidents before he went there.

He was also credited for having caused promotion of many officers at the CMI who had stayed on the same rank for a long time.

In fact officers at CMI wept when they got information that Mugira would be transferred to Luweero Industries.

Mugira was also responsible for building the state of the art CMI headquarters at Mbuya which was commissioned by the President. There is no such facility in the entire Ministry of Defence/UPDF.

It’s said the facility has super electronic capabilities capable of detecting suspicious troop movement in a foreign county. Such intelligence would allow Uganda to rapidly prepare her forces to defend her sovereignty.


Mugira also played a key role in the arrest in record time of the 7/11 terror suspects although this almost brought him on a collision path with Lt Gen Kayihura.

Shortly after arresting and interrogating all the terrorists, Mugira telephoned Kayihura, saying he would parade them before the media to tell Ugandans how they masterminded the attacks at Kyaddondo and Ethiopian Village Restaurant in Kampala.

However, according to information obtained, Kayihura was attending a security meeting and could therefore not pick the phone call.

Mugira then sent a text message. Because of his tight schedule, Kayihura did not read the message concerning the planned parading of terror suspects at then CMI headquarters in Kitante.

Considering that police and CMI were both under pressure by human rights organizations to parade the suspects in court, the heads of these institutions ended up holding parallel press conferences on the same day.

In fact after the terror attacks, Mugira encouraged Kayihura to send a team of counter terror detectives from police to CMI for information sharing thus arrest of the terrorists.

Mugira is also well remembered for neutralizing rebel groups that were propping up like PPF (associated with Norbert Mao one time) and the Lawrence Kiwanuka group.

“Mugira established good and close working relationships with sister security agencies of ESO and ISO. Previously, there had been poor working relations,” recounts a source who worked under Mugira at CMI.

Who is Mugira?

He is a lawyer by profession with first class honours Degree-LLB (Makerere); Master of Laws in International Business Law-LLM (University of Manchester) and Master of Arts in International Affairs (Legon University Ghana).

Having joined NRA in its early stages of its struggle from Kasese, Mugira has a Diploma in Legal Practice from the Law Development Centre (LDC) where he was awarded the Attorney Generals Prize and is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda.

He is a graduate of the prestigious Monduli Military Academy, Tanzania and the Ghana Senior Command and Staff College in addition to a number of military intelligence academies in U.K and USA

Those who have worked closely under him say Mugira is a no-nonsense officer.

“He is said to be a strict disciplinarian and strict time keeper. He is a reserved down to earth officer who prefers to keep a low profile,” the source notes.

Mugira is a son to George Wilson Kaguhangire of Rushere, Kiruhura (a retired teacher and magistrate).

He previously worked as Private Secretary to the President and Commander of the Armoured Brigade based in Masaka among others


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