The Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) on Monday withdrew all military guards from the former Security minister, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, under circumstances that nobody in the army was willing to speak about.
All the 10 UPDF guards attached to Lt Gen Tumukunde’s homes in Kampala, Kiruhura and Rukungiri districts were recalled.
A source in the military said the escorts were withdrawn following a directive from the UPDF command at the weekend.
The source added that the guards were taken back to the Guard Brigade at the Land Forces headquarters in Bombo.
Brig Richard Karemire, the army and defence spokesperson, yesterday declined to comment on the matter, claiming he was too busy to talk about it.
A military source said the directive was sent on Sunday ordering the soldiers to be withdrawn and immediately returned to Bombo headquarters.
“He has been an intelligence chief for the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Internal Security Organisation. He was also a Security minister for Uganda. Uganda owes him security,” the source said.
However, the source added that Lt Gen Tumukunde was stripped of his security guards after security agencies received information that he was making “plans” that did not please the establishment.
The source said with or without state security, Lt Gen Tumukunde would continue with “his plan”.
“He is not about to give up whatever plans he has,” the source said without elaborating. Outside his office in lower Kololo, which had been guarded by soldiers, the gate to his residence was closed. Lt Gen Tumukunde could not be reached for a comment as he did not respond to our repeated calls.
Two weeks ago, Lt Gen Tumukunde was among the top army officers who praised the late Maj Gen Benon Biraaro for his boldness to speak out his mind whenever he disagreed with his superiors.
“He had the capacity to differ on principle without being rough-edged. That’s why he disagreed with President Museveni but found importance in difference without being rough,” Lt Gen Tumukunde told mourners at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero in Kampala.
He also told mourners how Maj Gen Biraaro had openly asked Mr Museveni to retire but the President did not respond to him.
Lt Gen Tumukunde, also a former fighter in the five-year Bush War that brought Mr Museveni to power in 1986, has previously criticised or disagreed with the latter, which cost him his freedom and was prosecuted in the military court.
In 2005, Lt Gen Tumukunde was charged with abuse of office and spreading harmful propaganda contrary to the army code of conduct after he gave an interview to local FM radio stations Central Broadcasting Service and Radio One, telling President Museveni that his time was up and should retire.
More than 50 soldiers commanded by former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, and former presidential adviser on the Air Force, Maj Gen Joshua Masaba, arrested him.
He was detained at the Officers Mess in Kololo for more than two years as he underwent trial in the military court.
In 2013, the army court acquitted him of the charges after eight years of trial. He was retired in 2015 and promoted from Brigadier to Lieutenant General.
After his retirement, Lt Gen Tumukunde campaigned for Mr Museveni during the 2016 presidential elections and was appointed Security minister in June that year. He was dropped from Cabinet in March 2018.