[QODLink]
Africa

Ugandan army chief fired after leaked letter

Head of army moved to interior ministry after letter says he opposed president's son succeeding his father.

Last Modified: 27 May 2013 08:48
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Some influential generals condemned the controversial letter while a minority came out in support [Reuters]

Uganda's president has made a major change in the army, removing the chief of the armed forces to the interior ministry and replacing him with a general in charge of land forces.

Yoweri Museveni named General Katumba Wamala the new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) and General Aronda Nyakairima the interior minister in a reshuffle which also affected the cabinet.

Friday’s reshuffle came amid controversy over a leaked letter published by Daily Monitor saying the government was planning to assassinate senior officers opposed to the president’s son succeeding his father as leader.

Aronda was one of the officers named in the letter that was leaked by General David Sejusa, who heads an army unit that coordinates national and foreign intelligence and is currently out of the country.

Daily Monitor, a semi-independent paper, has been raided by security forces that have prevented staff from accessing its premises for four days.

Some influential generals condemned the Sejusa letter while a minority came out in support of him.

Powerful son

Museveni’s son, a brigadier named Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has scaled ranks faster than other officers and has had training at the prestigious British military academy Sandhurst and Fort Leavenworth in the US.

Kainerugaba heads an elite army unit called Special Forces Command which is tasked with protecting the president and guarding national assets like oil fields.

A presidential statement called the reshuffle "a minor re-organisation of the government".

However, Paddy Ankunda, the army spokesman, said the changes were "normal military changes".

"It should be clear there is no in-fighting in the army," Ankunda said, adding that Museveni "has the authority to make changes when he wishes".

General Wamala, the new army chief, has earned praise for his command of troops fighting in the African Union force in Somalia against rebels.

He is the first officer from Uganda’s largest ethnic group, Baganda, to lead the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) and the appointment will ward off criticism that promotion in the military is based on tribal grounds.

Meanwhile, Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers remain closed after Monday’s raid by police.

Two radio stations in the Monitor's offices also remained off air.

The only major newspaper operating is the government-run New Vision.

Ruth Sebatindira, president of the Uganda Law Society, has called the ongoing searches a "serious and inexcusable affront on the rights of the media".

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and France-based Reporters Without Borders have both criticised the closure of the newspapers.

416

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Featured
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.