In 2016, we expressed scepticism over Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde’s appointment as minister for Security. Below is what we wrote:
“The appointment of Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, a ‘securitised personality’, as the Minister for Security, is curious. He will superintend over the two near-dead civil intelligence services: ISO and ESO, which are likely to resurrect.
But this expected resurrection would be coming at a time the police are very assertive in the security and intelligence community; so assertive that even the UPDF is seen as playing second best to the police.
So, we are likely to witness a clash between the Police and civil intelligence services. The Police will be ‘expected’ to retreat to their traditional mandate of preventing and fighting crime. They (police) will be expected to leave security (in the traditional sense of the word) to the real owners of the word ‘security’.
But which police will retreat? IGP Kayihura won’t let go without a fight; neither will Tumukunde cede…
But my trouble with Lt Gen Tumukunde is that he looks like someone more disposed to act as a service chief than a Cabinet minister. He may want to supervise (manage?) the two services the way IGP Kayihura does his thing. So, we are likely to have the Minister for Security physically securing the public from a fight between boda boda riders (like IGP Kayihura always does).
And if there were to be any clash between police and the civil intel services, our Tumukunde will have to court the UPDF. You get?”
The feud between the two generals was not late to come. It reached embarrassing levels compelling Mr Museveni to dismiss them in one single act. Gen Kayihura is now an off-roll UPDF serviceman living in near-oblivion. Not so with retired Lt Gen Tumukunde, who is aspiring to be the Lord Mayor of Kampala. And to that end, he is running a subtle social media mobilisation.
Sometimes I ask myself: When will these bush war generals realise that the old man with a ‘hurt’ outfoxed them out of the game?
I joined The New Vision in early 2003 after serving (remand or detention or whatever) time in a Rwandan prison. Before my prison time in Rwanda, I had been thrown out of three countries on accusations that I was a security nuisance. I never appeared in any court because the government people knew they were doing fuujo on me. So, I know how men with gun power act in these our intemperate climes.
At New Vision, Mr Joseph Kabuleta was at the sports desk while I was at the political desk. Kabuleta is a conscientious man and his strength lies in story plotting and syntactical delivery. His story telling skills and choice of subject (Kabuleta talya mukene) has found Ugandans yearning for a voice that floats above the din of commentaries on politics.
Kabuleta’s entry into our business of political and security commentary, therefore, brought new freshness because he broke our unwritten rules. Rule #1: Don’t criticise Mr Museveni’s immediate family. Rule #2: If you must criticise that family, always pick on the easy targets who are Mr Museveni and his brother Salim Saleh. Rule #3: Never criticise Janet Museveni and Lt Gen Muhoozi Keinerugaba.
Even I (the little devil from Kiburara) is always self-advised not to touch Janet Museveni and Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba (even fictionalising them). So, for me, even when the DPP claimed to be perusing the file, I just made phone calls to the right people. Kabuleta is said to have been released on police Bond; and our information is that the DPP ‘may lose’ interest in the matter. Which is why Kabuleta should visit my shrine in Kiburara.
Mr Bisiika is the executive editor of East African Flagpost.