Kampala- President Museveni on Monday night shook up the army leadership dropping Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen Katumba Wamala.
UPDF Spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda confirmed the development and is expected to issue a statement later today.
Gen Wamala who has been appointed Minister of State for Works pending vetting by Parliament was unaware of the development when contacted on Tuesday morning.
“Well, I have just woken up. Wait for the official statement,” he said.
Maj Gen David Muhoozi, who until recently was commanding the Land Forces is the new CDF.
President Museveni also dropped his son Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba from Special Forces Commander (SFC) and named him Special Presidential Advisor in charge of operations.
SFC is in charge of the president’s security and other sensitive installations in the country.
Lt Col Don Nabaasa who was promoted to Colonel, is the acting SFC commander.
Major Gen Mbadi who has been serving as Chief of Staff is now the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces. Maj Gen Mbadi was for a long time Mr Museveni’s bodyguard.
Lt Gen Charles Angina who was deputising Gen Katumba, has also been moved and named Deputy Commander Operation Wealth Creation.
Brigadier Peter Elwelu who was commanding the Mbarara-based 2nd Division Brigade has been promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed commander Land Forces.
Gen Elwelu has been in the news lately. He commanded the raid on the Rwenzururu Kingdom Palace that left more than 100 people dead.
In other transfers, Brig Okiding the outgoing UPDF contingent commander in Somalia has been promoted to Major General and named Commander Field Artillery.
Chief of Military Intelligence Brigadier Charles Bakahumura has been transferred and appointed Chief of Logistics and Engineering.
Brig Mugyenyi was also promoted to Major General and appointed Commander Air Defence.
Lt Col Abel Kandiho who was promoted to Colonel is the new CMI boss.
Kampala- The Inspector General of Government (IGG) has opened up investigations into a scam in which government lost more than Shs2 billion through the maintenance of a suspected ghost Russian pilot on its payroll over a period of 11 years.
The spokesperson of the Inspectorate of Government, Ms Ali Munira, told Daily Monitor last week the investigation was precipitated by a complaint lodged by one Aron Bakunda, a private citizen.
In August, this newspaper published a story, which indicated that between October 2005 and February this year, the army paid a ghost pilot, one Valeri Ketrisk, alias Valerie Ketriski SK, $618,000 (approximately Shs2.07b) in monthly salaries and another $120,000 (approximately Shs402m) in gratuities.
This loss came to light in June after a team appointed by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen Katumba Wamala, to investigate the matter, released a report that implicated the Chief of the Air Force, Maj Gen Samuel Turyagyenda, and nine others for alleged connivance and negligence. Maj Gen Turyagyenda has since denied involvement in the scam.
“I was not involved in any way. My signature and stamp were forged,” Maj Gen Turyagyenda recently told Daily Monitor.
Some of the nine cited by the investigators led by Maj Martin Nsengiyunva, Mr Erias Mparana, principal human resource officer in the Ministry of Defence, Sgt Beswel Kutosi and Maj Lubega Kapalaga, of Uganda Air Force, Ms Caroline Kyakabale and Lt Col Grace Kyomuhendo of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
Others are one Maj Bumanya of the Army’s legal department, Ms Goretti Nansove of the Air Force, Lt Komunda and Maj Zakama. Both Lt Komunda and Maj Zakama have since died.
In his November 23 letter to the IGG, Mr Bakunda accuses the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence, Ms Rosette Byengoma, of refusal to comply with guidance from the Chief of Defence Forces on how to proceed with the investigation.
“The purpose hereof is to forward the preliminary investigation report and request that you appoint one of the MoD [Ministry of Defence] officials to join an audit team to be headed by the D/CDF [Deputy Chief of Defence Forces] in this matter,” Gen Katumba wrote in the June 18 memo to Ms Byengoma.
Mr Bakunda now accuses Ms Byengoma of having shelved the report in order to protect one of the implicated officials who is said to be her relative, a charge which she denies.
“Why should I shield anyone who has caused financial loss to the institution when I very well know that it can cause me problems? Whoever is telling you that must be wishing me the worst. I can never cover up for such [fraud],” she told Daily Monitor in a recent text message.
However, Mr Bakunda alleges selective application of the law, arguing that whereas other officers who had been accused of fraud and other offences had been forced to step aside to allow for investigations, those involved in the ghost pilot’s scam have not been forced to follow suit.
In July 2013, the deputy Executive Director Uganda Media Centre, Col Shaban Bantariza, was forced to step aside after he appeared before the General Court Martial to answer charges of fraud, but was reinstated in June last year after he was found innocent.
In August, the UPDF’s Chief Political Commissar, Col Felix Kulayigye, was sent on forced leave pending investigations into allegations that he was involved in a Shs200m gold deal that went bad.
He was recently cleared of wrongdoing and reinstated.
Mr Bakunda is demanding that the same standard, which was applied on Colonels Bantariza and Kulayigye, be applied to those cited in the ghost pilot’s scam.
“This is to therefore request you (to) investigate the matter and those involved should pave way for investigations,” Mr Bakunda wrote.
In response, Ms Munira last week said: “I can confirm that we have the complaint and it is being reviewed to ascertain how the matter will be dealt with.”
The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Katumba Wamala's role in the recent Kasese clashes has raised eyebrows among legislators.
This is after revelations that Gen Katumba was in Kampala at the time when the joint security forces raided the palace of the Rwenzururu King Charles Wesley Mumbere on November 27.
The attack stemmed from failed negotiations between Omusinga Mumbere and security officials who wanted him to disarm his royal guards and surrender them to the Police.
According to sources who attended a meeting between Katumba, State Minister of Defence, Colonel Charles Okello Engola and MPs on the Defence and Internal Affairs committee, the CDF reportedly said he was in Kampala when the offensive was launched, adding that he only communicated to those on ground on phone.
A number of legislators are said to have questioned the CDF whether he had been sidelined in the operation, a claim he reportedly dismissed.
CDF is the head of the Defence Forces and is responsible for the command, control, and administration of the UPDF. He is also the chief military advisor to President Museveni who is the Commander-in-Chief.
Katumba is also quoted to have told the legislators that the army followed orders from Mr Museveni, after King Mumbere defied attempts to have his royal guards surrender.
The committee also met Internal Affairs minister, General Jeje Odong in the afternoon, where he revealed that the number of the dead stood at 104, but this was disputed by legislators. On Wednesday, former defence minister, Dr Crispus Kiyonga told the same committee that only 57 people died, while the police has been putting the number at between 62 and 100.
Mubarak Munyagwa, Kawempe South MP says different government agencies are giving uncoordinated figures, which is suspicious.
Mr Odong declined to comment on the matter. Tasked to clarify on unconfirmed reports that there could have been children killed in the offensive, the minister dismissed this.
The Inspector General of Police, General Kale Kayihura was expected before the committee but did not show up and was represented by Assistant IGP, Asuman Mugenyi and Police spokesperson, Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
The committee is set to travel to Kasese District today and will also visit Bundibugyo on Saturday; Ntoroko on Sunday and Kabarole on Monday as part of its investigations into the clashes.