RESTORATION EXCRUSIVE: President Museveni Ponders Immediate Deployment of the Pardoned Brigadier Henry Tumukunde in order to expedite the Urgently Needed Rehabilitation Process of the Prodigal Son
By Fred Daka Kamwada 22nd, April 2013
President Yoweri Museveni, the Commander in Chief (CiC) of the armed forces is known to be in advanced stages of deploying the now free and boisterous General Henry Tumukunde.
Tumukunde regained his freedom last week when the General Court Martial (GCM) sentenced him with severe reprimand, a charge that doesn’t restrict his movements but cautions him against committing another offense that is in breach of the UPDF code of conduct.
Prior to last week’s ruling by the GCM Chairman Brigadier Fred Tolit, the errant brigadier was cocooned around Kampala and was not allowed to move without authorization from the army as he awaited the final verdict from Court. He is now a free man and sources hinted that he is set for another assignment in the UPDF, an institution he almost quit during his trying moments with the high command.
Sources close to the Presidency intimated to this reporter that Tumukunde is about to land another assignment which will in effect, expedite the rehabilitation process that is customary in the working style of the President.
It was the same process that was used to rehabilitate the hitherto rebellious and stubborn Lt General David Ssejjusa aka Tinyefunza when he fell out with the establishment. He too had got into trouble after making statements that undermined the state and UPDF institution that he was serving as a senior officer.
Tinye, as popularly known, was subjected to courts of law where he challenged his continued stay in UPDF which he intended to quit. His aspirations almost materialized when he preliminarily attracted the Court’s sympathy in the first round of the case.
But Government vigorously appealed and Tinye was reinstated in the UPDF before attracting important assignments that included the designation of coordinator of intelligence organs which he heads to-date. The rehabilitation process was completed without a single glitch and the General became one of the most important defenders of the regime he had wanted to oppose.
He even went into ‘overdrive’ when he engineered what was famously described by Chief Justice Benjamin Odoki as; ‘’the raping of the temple of justice.’’ This is when Tinye deployed troops known by the codename Black Mamba inside the High Court premises, to apprehend the PRA suspects who had been given bail. The hitherto stubborn and errant Sejjusa is now a tamed and loyal man.
The total rehabilitation of Tinye set a precedence of rehabilitating all the erring military officers. Before that, the errant officers used to fallout with the regime and metamorphose into some of the most devastating members of the opposition. A good example of such includes Rtd. Col (Rtd) Kiiza Besigye who went on to contest against his former CiC, President Museveni in three separate Presidential elections. Others include Major John Kazora now a very senior member of Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), Major Rubaramira Ruranga, also with FDC, Col Samson Mande and Col Kyakabale, both in Sweden and fully in the opposition.
These examples were enough lessons that completed President Museveni’s adoption of a new strategy of rehabilitation option for disgruntled officers. And there is every reason to believe that Tumukunde is heading to the same rehabilitation path as Tinye. The higher authorities are keen to get him back into the fold as a gesture of completing the reintegration process.
And indeed during the epic trial, where Tumukunde was expected to be dismissed from the army with disgrace upon conviction, the GCM Chair instead gave him the charge of severe reprimand. Severe reprimand is a lenient but stern sentence because it implies that a convict has no option but to remain loyal to the defense forces, adding that if such an officer commits similar crimes, they are liable to suffer horrendous consequences.
Brig. Tolit told court that Tumukunde had therefore been given a last chance to reform, adding that if he commits more offences, the long arm of the land law would get him.
The Reform Bit
Gen. Tolit reasoned that court had refrained from passing the maximum sentence (dismissal from the forces with disgrace) to offer Tumukunde an opportunity to reform. And it seems to be clear that the reform process is now in high gear as talk of possible deployment looms large around security corridors.
Brigadier Tolit and his panel had delayed to make the final judgment for three hours at the Makindye premised GCM. Although the reason for the delay was not an issue to many people to ponder about, critical thinkers believe that the panel was buying time to make a calculated judgment that would protect the interests of the CiC by keeping Tumukunde in check and at the same time prevent him from joining unfriendly forces.
If Court had decided to convict the Brigadier, the ultimate sentence would have been dismissal from the army with disgrace. This sentence would have played in the hands of not only Tumukunde who after all wanted to quit the army , but also in the hands of the political forces opposed to President Museveni who saw the Brigadier as a potential ally in future political contestations. It was a plain fact that a dismissed with disgrace Tumukunde was more dangerous than a free rank and file member Tumukunde.
And as the situation stands, the President has been consulting widely with the Generals about the possible deployment of the prodigal son. But sources insist that he is most likely to be deployed as the chief of the newly established Chieftaincy of Civil Military Relations, currently headed by Col Moses Diba Ssentongo.
The department was recently elevated to a fully-fledged Chieftaincy, fully funded by the American government. But it currently faces immediate challenges like inadequate human resource and lack of training manuals and equipment. US last week oversaw training of 55 UPDF officers by American trainers under the joint task force on the horn of Africa, led by an American Major Mark Berman.
It’s widely believed that this docket fits Gen. Tumukunde very well, given his vast experience and his known exposure with the world d hardworking style. He has got what it takes to excel and would definitely enjoy the challenge of building a new department in the UPDF.
The only glitch is the small detail of verifying whether the Chieftaincy is more junior to the profile of a boisterous Tumukunde or not. Once that is ironed out; then the man from Rukungiri will embark on a new journey of serving the UPDF, an institution that incarcerated and restricted his movement for 8 consecutive years.