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Has Gen Sejusa lost all efforts to retire from the army?

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PEOPLE–Controversial bush war general David Sejusa will have to wait longer after failing to secure a place among the generals who were recently discharged from the army.

According to the list released earlier last this year, Gen Sejusa was one of retirees as the army rolled out an eight-year timetable that would see nearly all Generals from the bush war era allowed to leave the military.

At the last minute, however, Gen Sejusa’s name was struck off the final list, meaning he will have to remain in the army much longer.

Gen Sejusa has always demanded his retirement from the army arguing that the commander in chief Gen Yoweri Museveni keeps most bush war generals in the military by design so they do not oppose him.

The military code of conduct does not allow active officers to engage in politics or speak out their minds on state of affairs of the country without prior authorisation of the UPDF.

Over his 37 years in the military, Sejusa has had quite some run-ins with the Military High Command. In 1996, he controversially fell out with the army and applied to be discharged. The army rejected his request and ensuing court battle was eventually overruled at the Supreme Court level.

In 2013, Sejusa leaked to the media a letter he had authored asking internal security agencies to investigate a plot to kill top army officers, including himself and then Chief of Defence Forces Gen Aronda Nyakairima.

Sejusa had claimed that some forces within government led by Gen Salim Saleh and Kale Kayihura wanted to bump off top officials considered opposed to what he called ‘Muhoozi Project’. The Muhoozi Project was perceived as a plan to enforce Gen Muhoozi to presidency as a successor to his father.

In leaking the content of the letter to the media, Sejusa had opened the Pandora’s Box and the army came knocking. He later fled the country to exile in the UK, citing threats to his life but quietly returned and continues to live a quiet life.

Suing UPDF

In 2015, the former coordinator of intelligence services sued the UPDF Commissions and Promotions Board for refusal to retire him from the military.

In his application filed before Kampala High Court, Sejusa asked the court to declare that he ceased to be a UPDF officer on April 8, 2015, when he applied to retire.

The Luweero bush war fighter, who has served the military for 37 years–albeit the last ten or so years on non-deployment and in a rift with the military– wonders why many of his comrades of his age have been retired.

He cited Gen Yoweri Museveni, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi, Maj Gen Benon Biraro, Lt Gen Benon Tumukunde, Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire and Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu.

However, even with directives from President Museveni that Sejusa be discharged, he remains ‘imprisoned within the military.’ It was to his relief recently that he would be discharged, finally, but with his name struck off again, Sejusa might just resign to his fate.

A total of 11 Generals made to the final list, these were Maj. Gen. Joshua Masaba, Maj. Gen.Ali Kiiza, Maj.Gen Kasirye Gwanga, Maj.Gen.Hussein Adda. Maj.Gen James Ssebaggala, Maj.Gen John Mateeka, Brig.Jacob Musajjawaza, Brig.Yowasi Kiiza, Brig.Stephen Othieno, Brig.Olanya Ojata and Brig.Mark Ayiasi Kodili.

According to the Joint Chief of Staff, Maj.Gen. Joseph Musanyufu during the handing certificates and plaques in appreciation of their services to the army and the country at large, revealed that the eleven generals had spent between 37 and 55 years of service a slot were Sejusa falls.

According to sources close to the matter, Sejusa application was rejected by Millitary High Command, citing his closeness to the opposition and conviction of his former aides.

On July 5, 2016 the court chaired by Lt Gen Andrew Gutti held that prosecution proved the charges of treachery and abetting commission of offence against the accused persons (Sejusa aides).

On January 2016, Gen David Sejusa was arrested from his home in Naguru by military police operatives and was charged in Millitary Court.

When Gen Sejusa petitioned the High Court, Judge Magret Oguli Oumo ruled that he was entitled to constructive discharge from the army.

Justice Oguli noted that this is a clear manifestation of discrimination of Sejusa contrary to what the constitution provides.

Judge Oumo also ruled that Gen.Sejusa’s application seeking judicial review of UPDF’s decision, to ignore his application for retirement from the army is not time barred but proper before court.

Gen Sejusa, previously known as David Tinyefuza, first applied for retirement on December 3, 1996, citing harassment and intimidation by the Military High Command. His request was, however, denied, prompting him to run to court.

The Court of Appeal proceedings  drew huge crowds during the three weeks of hearing, following a circular dated January 23, 1997, issued by the then court registrar Joseph Mulangira which set February 18 as the start of the court hearing.

Five panel of justices comprising Deputy Chief Justice A. T. Manyindo, G. M. Okello. Mpagi Bahigeine, P. J. M Tabaro and Egonda Ntede were appointed  to hear the petition.

Court ruled in Tinyefuza’s favour but the government appealed the ruling in Supreme Court, which later dismissed lower court judgement.

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