By Jamila Mulindwa
Political analysts appearing on NBS TV’s Morning Breeze have called into question some of the recent promotions in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). At least 2000 UPDF officers were promoted in an announcement by the Commander-in-Chief President Yoweri Museveni last week.
The promotions were announced in a press statement issued by the army spokesperson, Brig.Richard Karemire released on Friday afternoon. The Friday promotions saw 10 Major Generals promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and these included Pecos Kuteesa, John Mugume, Prossy Nalweyiso, Charles Awany Otema, Nakibus Lakara,Peter Elwelu, James Mugira , Joseph Musanyufu,Charles Lutaaya and Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Senior Presidential Advisor for Soecial Operations.
Vocal Busiro County East Member of Parliament argued that most of the senior promotions are for, “People who have been benched, undeployed. You ask this time of no deployement, no fighting, no further education, what have they done to deserve a promotion?”
But Kitagwenda MP Abbas Agaba disagreed. He said if the army is to be professionalized such promotions should be carried out. “When promotions are done we should congratulate those who have gone through. Even those who haven’t should work hard to get these promotions because they have the faith in the system that promotes them.”
In particular, Sseggona called into question the promotion of Lieutenant General Muhoozi Kainerugaba. He said that his achievements are often associated with the fact his father is the president of the republic and commander in chief.
“When you promote Muhoozi, it creates the sense that it’s because of his father’s influence, that is dangerous,” the DP stalwart said, “Even when Muhoozi deserves it as a person, people get the impression he is favoured because of the father.”
But Agaba dismissed that line of thinking, “I don’t think Muhoozi should be denied a merited promotion simply because his a first son. He is hard working and he deserves it. In the army you merit a promotion like in academics.”
Sseggona took the opportunity to suggest that the promotion of General Muhoozi should be a sign to the president that his time in office is up.
He put it this way, “If a boy who was in P.5 when you took power is promoted to Lieutenant General, isn’t that enough for him to know we are old enough to take charge of the country?”
In the UPDF act, promotions are decided upon through the army promotions board which recommends those most deserving to the Commander-in-Chief also the President. However the same act gives the president powers to choose anyone he deems due for a promotion.