What you need to know:
Defence minister Kiyonga dismisses ‘Muhoozi Project’ claims, as relatives of Gen. Tinye’s aides go to court.
The Government yesterday went on the record, denying that there are plans to have President Museveni’s son, Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, replace him as leader of the country.
“I assure the House that there is no such a Muhoozi project in the army,” Defence minister Crispus Kiyonga told Parliament.The government’s denials were part of its official reaction to Gen. David Sejjusa aka Tinyefuza’s claims that some government officials opposed to the “project” had been singled out for assassination.
Daily Monitor this week published details of a letter Gen. Sejjusa, the coordinator of intelligence agencies, wrote to the Internal Security Organisation boss, asking that the assassination claims be investigated.
In an interview with this newspaper, Gen. Sejusa admitted authoring the letter.
But addressing MPs yesterday, Dr Kiyonga said the letter bearing Gen. Sejusa’s instructions has never reached the director general of the Internal Security Organisation.
The defence minister also denied that there is any criminal conspiracy by senior military officers to either frame or assassinate colleagues.
“And ordinarily, Gen. Sejusa is the coordinator of both external and internal security organisations and if there’s such a serious matter Gen. Sejusa should have addressed it himself or met the Commander-in-Chief,” Dr Kiyonga said.
The minister’s statement, which was unsigned, said Gen Sejusa had abused the laws that govern the army and that the matter would be dealt with by his Commander-in-Chief, President Museveni.
Dr Kiyonga’s statement drew mixed reactions from MPs, with some fearing that the country could be on the brink of a coup given the serious allegations which have been made about senior military officials.
Army MP, Gen. Elly Tumwine, later gave a lengthy lecture on the UPDF and its good intentions for the country, which he concluded by blaming Gen. Sejusa.
“This matter should not cause undue excitement. It is not the first time in the history of UPDF, in the history of this Parliament and in normal life in society that somebody wakes up not feeling well,” Gen. Tumwine said.
Other MPs, however, observed that Gen. Sejusa, who is one of the 10 army representatives in the House, could be the only top military man courageous enough to speak his mind on such a sensitive issue.
Mr Wafula Oguttu (Bukhooli Central) said: “We have had disagreements in the Ugandan army before and it ended up in a coup. We had disagreements in the UNLA, and it ended up in a coup. So, we should not downplay these simmering disagreements. If everything is fine, why are soldiers deserting?” he asked.
Both the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, himself reported to be among the targets for alleged assassination, and police chief Lt. Gen. Kayihura have since issued strong rebuttals to Gen. Sejusa.
Dr Kiyonga confirmed that Gen. Sejusa is out of the country but could not say when is expected to return.
Cabinet on Wednesday asked the Defence Minister, Dr Crispus Kiyonga, to respond to allegations made by the Coordinator of Security Agencies, Gen. David Sejjusa, that there were plans to assassinate senior government officials opposed to alleged attempts to have First Son Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba take over the presidency from his father, President Museveni.
Right Hon Speaker and Hon Members of Parliament.
You will have seen headlines in our local press making serious allegations of a security nature. It has been alleged that a criminal plan had been hatched to;
(a) Frame certain senior officers of Government and the army in order to make it appear that these officers had committed serious and capital offences.
(b) To assassinate certain people perceived to be opposed to the so called “Muhoozi Project”.
This information has no doubt caused concern across the breadth of our population.
The reports in the press are attributed to Gen. David Sejjusa. Gen. Sejjusa is a four-star General, a historical member of the UPDF and an honorable member of this House.
He knows only too well the laws of the country and the law that governs the force in which he continues to serve. It is therefore unfortunate that he should make such serious and false allegations in the manner he has done.
I would like to assure this August House and the country at large that there has not been and there will never be such criminal acts of senior members of Government and the army conspiring to frame their colleagues or indeed anyone in the population. There is no plan that we are aware of to assassinate certain people.
The UPDF and the NRM have clear track record. Such underhand and criminal methods have never been the way these institutions work.
The army is cohesive, united and under effective command and control. And the population and the leaders should remain assured that the country is safe and stable.
Within the context of the constitution and the laws that govern this country, the President and Commander-in-Chief is taking appropriate measures to respond to the acts of indiscipline that have been portrayed to the population through the press and other means.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I wish to request that Parliament notes this statement and gives time to the Commander-in-Chief to take appropriate steps in line with the law.
And in order not to further alarm the population, I request that this statement shouldn’t be debated.
I thank you Right Hon Speaker and Hon Members of the August House.