Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Uganda: 28 military officers on forced leave -- to face court martial

Here is what's at stake ...
The officers individually face different charges – ranging from creating ghost soldiers, indiscipline and subversive talk, to negligence of duty.

... The officers who create ghosts apparently take the money meant for non-existent soldiers [and nobody knows how many "ghosts" there are].

... "Different commanders have been keeping different figures at different times. One keeps five ghosts this month, next month he keeps 10 or 15. So it is difficult to tell. Only the Defence minister [Amama Mbabazi] may know because he has been privy to the investigation and report,” Bantariza [army spokesman] said last night. (link)
Here's a bit more context from the BBC (quoting the Monitor!) ...
The Ugandan Monitor newspaper says the moves also appear to be a purge of those loyal to former army commander, James Kazini - who was sacked in June this year.

He was accused in a report of plundering the Democratic Republic of the Congo's mineral resources, while the Ugandan army was involved in the five-year Congolese war.

He is now at army training college in Nigeria.

The shake-up also comes just days after Lieutenant-General Salim Saleh, President Museveni's brother, resigned as one of the military's 10 MPs [allegations of corruption had been dogging him]. (link)
And here is more on Kazani ...
Kazini, the former army commander, has been largely cleared of ghost-related allegations.

He will, however, face the court martial for reportedly causing wrangles in the army, and for speaking in the wrong forum – usually the army’s reference to unauthorised media interviews.

... Other military sources had told The Monitor that Kazini has been summoned to report to the army headquarters.

According to Bantariza, however, Kazini would continue attending his course at the National War College in Abuja (Nigeria) until he is summoned by the GCM to answer specific charges. (link)
New Vision is also reporting that Kazini has been recalled from Nigeria.

Another prominant person in trouble is Brigadier Henry Tumukunde, former head of military intelligence and until recently, head of Uganda's paramilitary Internal Security Organisation. The details of his relationship with the militiary and Museveni are curious ...
Tumukunde refused to go abroad for a course after he was sacked from ISO in June this year.

He twice reportedly also refused to report to the army commander for redeployment – responding only to the third invitation.

Later Tumukunde wrote to Museveni, asking for permission to retire from the army.

Museveni returned the letter to him, and tried to use sympathetic intermediaries to woo Tumukunde back into the fold.

Even after meeting Museveni, Tumukunde reportedly still refused to accept any other deployment (outside ISO). He insisted he wanted to retire and “go home”. (link)