Special Reports

UPDF: Gen Sejusa Can’t Dictate on Retirement

The former spymaster arriving at his city home in Naguru last year

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The UPDF has warned it will not accept threats from Gen David Sejusa who is pushing for his retirement from the armed forces, more about http://clothesthatwork.org/wp-content/plugins/the-events-calendar/src/deprecated/tribeeventsimporter_plugin.php insisting the former Coordinator of Intelligence Organs “should be patient.”

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Through his lawyers, Sejusa last week threatened that if the army does not retire him by Monday this week, he would seek legal redress.

But UPDF spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda on Wednesday told ChimpReports in an interview that, “The UPDF, as an institution, cannot be pushed. It exercises its constitutional mandate of retiring soldiers at its wish. You don’t command it.”

Asked whether the UPDF has any intentions of releasing the controversial and maverick former spymaster from the army, Ankunda observed: “Let him be patient.”

Reminded that Sejusa said he had agreed with President Museveni to retire him from the army and that CDF Gen Katumba Wamala had also made instructions to that effect, Ankunda said the institution has never made such a commitment.

“It is not true at all that we said we would retire him. Retirement follows laid down procedures. Gen Sejusa has to be patient,” he added.

Gen Sejusa fled to exile in 2013 after reportedly leaking his own letter alleging that the army and government officers opposed to President Museveni’s succession plan were being targeted for assassination.

Government dismissed the claim as “baseless” and “alarmist” before shutting down Sejusa’s espionage offices and arresting his aides who are now on trial for planning to overthrow Museveni’s government.

Sejusa was later declared a deserter and kicked out of Parliament as the army’s representative.

The flamboyant General, who is accused of human rights abuses while leading military operations against LRA rebels in Northern Uganda, is likely to return to court to compel the army to set him free.

Sejusa, who joined the National Resistance Army (NRA), now Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) in 1981 in a guerrilla struggle to oust Milton Obote, is a historical member of the High Command of the NRA.

Previous court battle

In 1996, Sejusa petitioned the Constitutional Court to declare that his resignation from the army could not be questioned because he had been appointed Presidential Advisor on military affairs and to determine whether he could be prosecuted by the army’s High Command for offences he allegedly committed in the course of his testimony to the parliamentary committee on defence and internal affairs.

He had earlier told MPs that the war in Northern Uganda had been prolonged by corruption and inefficiency of army chiefs.

Fearing disciplinary action from the military court over his testimony, which he believed was true and given in good faith, Sejusa resigned.

On December 3, 1996, Sejusa wrote a resignation letter to the President Museveni who doubled as the chairman of the army High command and Minister of Defence.

The case took a twist on December 8, 1996, with the state minister for defence rejecting his resignation, saying Sejusa must follow the law, particularly section 28(1) of the NRA Regulation Statutory Instrument No 6 of 1993, to guide his intentions of quitting the army.

Sejusa fired back, arguing that threats of disciplinary action against him for speaking his mind violated his inherent human rights.

State’s lawyer, Peter Kabatsi, said then that the President had no authority to remove an officer from the army according to the 1993 NRA regulations and that a regulation made under a Statute of Parliament would not override an express power granted in the Constitution.

The Constitutional Court concurred with Sejusa, saying he was right to seek legal redress after fearing that his rights were being threatened.

The Judge said the 1993 army regulations did not govern the High Command and that Sejusa’s resignation should be considered since he did not want to be compelled to serve an institution he no longer wished to be associated with.

However, the Attorney General appealed against the decision, saying the Constitutional Court judges erred in law when they held that any threatened disciplinary, administrative, criminal or civil action against Tinyefuza in any tribunal, forum or court of law, arising out of his testimony was unconstitutional because it violated Article 97 of the Constitution.

Supreme Court judges James Wako Wambuzi, John Tsekooko, Joseph Mulenga, Alfred Karokora, George Kanyeihamba and Leticia Kikonyogo allowed the appeal and set aside the Constitutional Court order.

On January 28, 1998, the Attorney General won the case and Tinyefuza continued to serve the army after reconciling with Museveni at a function in western Uganda.

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