The former army commander, (Rtd) Maj Gen Mugisha Muntu, has said they will fight “tooth and nail” to ensure President Museveni does not turn the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) into an individual’s army.
The leader of Alliance for National Transformation (ANT) party said he has heard on several occasions that President Museveni calls the UPDF “his army”, but the National Resistance Army rebels, now UPDF, did not go to the bush to fight in the 1980 to 1986 guerrilla war to establish a personalised army.
“When it turned to UPDF, like it is now, it isn’t a personal army. It is a national army and we will do everything possible to ensure that that comes into reality. If that doesn’t come into reality, it will be unfortunate for those who have served, those who are dead [and those] who are still living,” Gen Muntu said.
The ANT leader made the statements while eulogising late Maj Gen Benon Biraaro during a funeral service last week. Gen Biraaro, a former presidential candidate and former Bush War guerrilla fighter, was buried at his home in Isingiro District on Sunday.
Among Gen Muntu’s audience was the Chief of Defence Forces Gen David Muhoozi, and dozens of senior military officers.
Gen Muntu told the Minister of Karamoja Affairs, Mr John Byabagambi to “be courageous enough” and deliver his message to President Museveni.
President Museveni has on several occasions referred to the UPDF as his army.
Gen Muntu said they waged the guerrilla war to fight for a just cause and have a country where there is peace, fairness and equality.
He said President Museveni could be using the reference (his army) to intimidate his opponents and subdue them psychologically.
“If it is part of phychological warfare, you know by the time you get to your opponent, they have already been flattened. If it is that, I would understand. Power can make us do a number of strange things in life,” Gen Muntu said.
Senior Presidential Press Secretary Don Wanyama couldn’t comment on the matter.
“Call UPDF. Ask them if they are in a personalised army,” Mr Wanyama said.
The Army and Defence spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said: “Refer to the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda and the UPDF Act 2005.”
Both the Constitution and UPDF Act define the UPDF as a national army.