Kampala. Gen David Sejusa will be retired next year as the army rolls out an eight-year timetable that will see nearly all Generals from the Bush War era allowed to leave the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
Two years after the former Coordinator of Intelligence Services is finally allowed to walk away from an army with which he has had a love-and-hate relationship for more than three decades, Gen Sejusa (formerly known as Tinyefuza) will be joined in civilian life by police chief, Gen Kale Kayihura, whose year of retirement on the schedule is 2020.
He leaves with another Bush War notable, Maj Gen Pecos Kuteesa, the other officer who, along with President Museveni and Opposition leader, retired Col Dr Kizza Besigye, have recorded the events of that guerilla war in books.
A year later, long-serving army representative in Parliament, Gen Elly Tumwine, will say his good byes. Joining him will be Lt Gen Ivan Koreta, who goes in 2019.
UPDF spokesman, Brig Richard Karemire, confirmed the plan to Saturday Monitor yesterday, saying “it is an early notice strategy” premised on the need to prepare for proper retirement.
“The same happens in Civil Service when upon joining, one gets to know when they will be retiring. So, it is the same thing we are rolling out that as one joins the service, they as well know when they will be leaving,” Brig Karemire said.
At least 2,175 officers and men will leave the army over the next eight years, including nearly all Bush War Generals, who between 1980 and 1986 fought alongside Mr Museveni in the bushes of Luweero against the government of two-time former president, Apollo Milton Obote, and the short-lived Gen Tito Okello military junta. That war brought Mr Museveni’s National Resistance Movement government to power in January 1986.
Former head at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, the bookish Maj Gen James Mugira, takes his bow in 2023.
The commander of Land Forces, Maj Gen Peter Elwelu, the man who in November last year commanded the deadly operation which left more than 130 civilians, including women and children, dead as the police and army raided the royal seat of Rwenzururu’s King Charles Wesley Mumbere in Kasese, leaves in 2024.
Gen Sejusa applied for retirement when he returned from exile in 2014, but was refused. From next year, he will be free to indulge his passion for politics – an option unavailable to serving personnel who are barred from partisan political activity by law. He has continually accused President Museveni of using military law to hold army officers “hostage”, an allegation the army has dismissed.
The General is amongst the highest ranking officers who have made no secret of his opposition inclinations, all but denouncing the Museveni leadership as a dictatorship.
The first batch of about 400 soldiers, including senior and junior officers, will retire in November. The last group leaves in 2025. Two batches will be retired every year, starting next year.
According to military sources, the new army leadership says the programme is to help soldiers know early when they will retire for good planning. The UPDF has more than 50,000 officers and men.
Brig Karemire said that the logic of the policy is to “help the institution” plan early enough for the requisite retirement package for each retiring serviceman.
Upon retirement, every officer receives gratuity and pension for 15 years, according to information available to this newspaper.
The UPDF Conditions and Terms of Service provide that it’s illegal to keep army officers in active service once they clock a certain age but are not promoted to the next rank. For example, it’s illegal to have an officer at the rank of captain or major, aged 50, in active service.
At the age of 40, if a captain is not promoted to major, the army must retire the officer. Regulation 28, Cap 307 of the terms of service specifies at which age an officer should be promoted to another rank, if not be retired from the service but according to army sources, the UPDF continues to flout section of its own regulations.
From the rank of Lieutenant to Captain, one can apply for early retirement at 40 years, while a Major can leave service at 45. A Lieutenant Colonel can retire at 47, while a Colonel’s retirement age is 51.
The army code also specifies the years of service upon which an officer can rightly apply for retirement, but some have doubled the required number of years and are still waiting to be retired.
From the rank of 2nd Lieutenant to General, an officer can rightly apply for retirement after 14 years of service, while the lower ranks can retire after nine years.
Attempts to talk to some of the officers listed on the schedule were futile by press time as they did not pick calls or respond to our text messages.
Maj Gen Joram Mugume
Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa
Maj Gen Sam Turyagyenda
Maj Gen Joshua Masaba
Gen Elly Tumwine
Lt Gen Ivan Koreta
Brig Waswa Balikalege
Gen Kale Kayihura
Lt Gen Jim Owoyesigire
Maj Gen Silver Kayemba
Brig Joram Kakari
Lt Gen Andrew Gutti
Maj Gen Proscovia Nalweyiso
Brig Steven Kashaka
Maj Gen Nakibus Lakara
Brig Sam Kavuma
Lt Gen Wilson Mbadi
Maj Gen James Mugira
Maj Gen Fred Luciana
Brig Lucky Kidega
Maj Gen Peter Elwelu
Maj Gen Charles Lutaya.