On 30 November 2008, Major General (Retired) Benon Biraaro, resigned in the middle of his multi-year contract and started an organization called LIFT.
Gen. Biraaro was then a very senior officer and a former close confidante of the then Chief of Defense Forces [CDF], the late Gen. Aronda Nyakairima.
Biraaro was the Deputy Chief of Staff, a fifth top position after the Commander in Chief, when he was sacked by President Yoweri Museveni for allegedly misusing his office to amass wealth.
Oil soiled the ties
A military source told us Biraaro had acquired his own fuel tankers stationed at Mombasa port in Kenya.
He used them to transport the army fuel into Kampala and later distribute to different units across the country.
During his reign as chief of staff, Biraaro allegedly accumulated a lot of wealth through fuel deals in collaboration with some top UPDF bosses and Kenyan officials.
Biraaro who is now contesting against President Museveni in 2016 elections, also reportedly started constructing a multibillion hotel in the Rwanda capital Kigali, arousing suspicion.
A source closer to the president said that during one of the Museveni’s visits to Kigali, Rwandan president Gen Paul Kagame in a private chat poured out his thanks to the president for allowing his army officers to set up multibillion hotels in Rwanda.
It is revealed that when Kagame talked about the development, Museveni suddenly sat up, surprised.
The president then inquired which officer was constructing a multibillion hotel only to be told…Maj Gen Benon Biraro.
Museveni came back home and ordered secret investigations upon which it was revealed that Biraaro was earning from Mombasa fuel deals.
The angry Museveni immediately retired Biraaro unceremoniously at a function attended by Maj Gen David Muhoozi and other low ranking officers at Mbuya army barracks.
Shot at presidency
It was then that Biraaro, a former bush war Secretary to High Command and National Resistance Council in 1984 who commanded the Senior Staff College, Kimaka also declared war against his boss.
Biraaro knew he had to attack where it hurts most; he decided to stand for presidency in a move to remove Museveni from the country’s top seat.
Before Museveni disgracefully kicked him from the force he first sent Biraaro on foreign mission.
Biraaro worked as diplomat at the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia in 2007.
Sensing some ruse behind the appointment, Biraaro quit his post just one year into his two-year contract and returned to Uganda.
He started Local Investment for Transformation [LIFT], a project he proclaimed had the potential to do what Museveni had failed to do -transform Uganda from a Highly Indebted Poor Country to a developed country.
Biraaro then told his close relatives and close confidants that he had plans to contest as president come 2016.
He went ahead and formed a political party Peace and National Unity (PNU) which recruited and mobilised for him ahead of nominations.
The source says before he returned the presidential nominations forms to the electoral commission, Biraaro sold off his ten cows to raise the Shs 20m nomination fee.
Even after nominations, Biraaro suspended his campaign rallies for a week, a period in which he is said to had suffered financial constraints.
He has so far campaigned in districts of Sironko, Mbale and Tororo, among other places.
Who is Maj Gen Biraro?
Major General (rtd) Benon Buta Biraro joined Bush war in 1982, just after completing his degree at Makerere University.
According to Wikipedia, by 1984, he had risen to the position of Secretary to the High Command and during this time he worked as Aide de Camp to Museveni.
After the war in 1986, he briefly worked as the Deputy Principal Private Secretary to the President, before being named Special District Administrator of Kitgum.
Maj Gen Biraro has also worked at the National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi, was one time the Commandant of the Military Police and later went to the Uganda Senior Staff Command College at Kimaka, where he also served as Commandant.
A highly decorated soldier and diplomat, Maj Gen Biraro has also served as the UPDF Deputy Chief of Staff (DCOS) and later joined the African Union (AU), where he served as the Chief of Strategic Planning and Management Unit of Peace and Security Commission in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
In 2008, he resigned from the Army.