President Museveni on Thursday announced changes in Permanent Secretary that saw Lt Gen Joseph Musanyufu appointed as the new accounting officer for the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Prior to the appointment, Musanyufu had on June 24, 2020 been replaced as the Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS) in the UPDF by Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda and the former was consequently posted to the Civil Service.
On Thursday, Musanyufu who had earlier served as the Chief Comptroller Finance of the UPDF and then as Chief of Integrated Resource Management Information System was announced as the new Permanent Secretary in the Internal Affairs Minister.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs is headed by Maj Gen Kahinda Otafiire a retired army officer as the chief minister, whereas Gen David Muhoozi, the immediate former Chief of Defence Forces of the UPDF is the State Minister.
The ministry is in charge of the Uganda Police Force where the deputy chief Maj Gen Paul Lokech,Brig Sserunjogi Ddamulira(Police Crime Intelligence Director),Col. Jesse Kamunanwire (Police Director for Human Resource Administration), Brig Geoffrey Golooba(police Director for Human Resource Development and Training), Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba(police’s Chief of Joint Security) are all UPDF officers.
Maj Gen Apollo Gowa is in charge of the Directorate for Citizenship and Immigration Control which is still under the Internal Affairs Ministry whereas Brig Johnson Namanya is the Commissioner in charge of Passport Control and Col. Geoffrey Kambere is the Commissioner for Immigration Control.
In NIRA, also under the Internal Affairs Ministry is Brig Stephen Kwiringira, the director in charge of registration and operations.
According to experts, the latest appointment of Lt Gen Joseph Musanyufu as the new Permanent Secretary or accounting officer, the military seems to have finally taken over the Internal Affairs Ministry.
President Museveni has carefully ensured the presence both covert and overt of military officers in several ministries, government departments and agencies where they serve not only as subordinates but also as the overseers in a bid to ensure they watch over the other civilian authority.
Whereas the opponents of the idea say it points to the militarization of state agencies, those appointed in the positions and President Museveni have always said otherwise.
Speaking shortly after his appointment and subsequent clearance as the new State Minister for Internal Affairs, Gen David Muhoozi told journalists that these appointments should be looked at in the perspective of the ability to serve.
“The UPDF can serve anywhere. If they assign duties, do you perform them according to the expectations? That should be the question and not who does what,” Gen Muhoozi said last month.
The then UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire could not agree more while speaking to Daily Monitor in 2019.
“Wherever UPDF has been assigned tasks, it takes along its character of discipline, professionalism and patriotism. This and other leadership competencies have led us to succeed where others have not easily done so. The human resource capacity UPDF has built over time through training and accumulated experience is incredibly huge and makes the force a reservoir that can be tapped into whenever there is need for strategic intervention,” Brig Karemire told the Daily Monitor.
“Therefore, such deployments should not be seen as taking over as there is no need again having done so on January 26, 1986, but rather as reinforcement to provide accelerated services to our people in order to achieve social-economic transformation.”
President Museveni has also on several occasions defended the move to deploy soldiers as one meant to fight corruption in key government ministries, agencies and departments.
For example, he said the Police were infested with weevils and this deterred its efforts to deal with criminality.
He also insists that, unlike civilians, soldiers are loyal and immediately act on his directives to them.
Speaking about the appointment of UPDF officers to the Police Force as directors in 2019, IGP John Martins Okoth Ochola said these bring a great wealth of knowledge to the law enforcement body that will help build capacity.
“Some of the areas where police has drawn best practices from the UPDF include intelligence gathering, supervision, and discipline, handling highly risky and confrontational situations.”
He said that as the police force continues to improve, a number of reforms are taking place including expansion of the community policing model, training and re-training of officers and use of modern technology, the deployment of army officers in the police would be of great benefit.
In the face of all the latest developments, many are asking whether the president seems to be slowly by slowly losing faith in the ability by educated civilians to run the state well whereas many say he wants more control of the state and that he can only do so through the military.
However, others wonder whether currently, the military is the best place to go if one wants to have a thriving career in the near future.