Recently promoted and retired soldier, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, says it is time Uganda had a President from another part of the country other than the western region.
The former head of the Internal Security Organisation, told NTV says current politics dictate that somebody from another region should hold the highest office in the land.
Tumukunde, however, cautioned that this change from President Yoweri Museveni, who is from the west, and has reigned for nearly 30 years, must be well managed so that the country does not go up in flames.
Mbabazi and Besigye
According to Tumukunde, those offering themselves for example Kizza Besigye and Amama Mbabazi who are from the west like Museveni should allow others to have a chance.
Besigye [the FDC politician] and Mbabazi [former Prime Minister] will be running against Museveni in 2016 general elections.
“Other regions should also get a chance as mandated under the constitution,” Tumukunde pointed out.
“Why do we balance the cabinet on a regional basis? Why do we say the vice president should be from another religion or region?” he queried.
According to the senior spy, this is being positively sensitive because “we are in the same country”.
“It is important that any one in leadership should remain categorically sensitive about others,” he noted, saying he personally would never offer himself for leadership.
“…because I think other Ugandans from other regions should have a chance too.”
“Other people should be given a chance to try power.”
He said Ugandans have away they understand things, for example, they think when one is in power, things will flow in one’s direction which may not be the case.
He said the change people want will surely come but it has to be properly organised.
He encouraged other regions to also offer themselves for leadership.
“People give votes to people because they go to burials, they are humble or greet them which affects the quality of brains that we have in the country.”
Term limits and arrest
Tumukunde also talked about his 2005 arrest and detention for speaking out on term limits.
Tumukunde stated at a retreat in 2003 that this would be in direct contravention of the rights that they fought to establish and that he, was not willing to take part in what he considered to be grossly unconstitutional behaviour.
He was in 2005 forced out of Parliament, arrested and charged with the offences of abuse of office and spreading harmful propaganda.
“I don’t think it [arrest] is because I spoke against term limits,” he told NTV blaming the saga on lack of good intelligence which he called a fundamental problem.
He also cited internal rivalries and other infightings saying the result would depend on who influences the leader the more.
“The president now understands my mind. Of course term limits help in our times but if you have competitive leadership and well selected leaders on top, the dynamics will shape themselves and then you will have a change of leadership.”
The General was not happy with his colleague, Gen David Sejusa, for saying he [Tumukunde] was grassing after falling out with the president and lived on hand outs.
“I saw Tinyefuza saying that am a very poor man,” Tumukunde reiterated.
“I have never asked anyone for my legal fee. I live reasonably well and pay my children’s school fees.”
Support for Museveni
The General has been in the news after it leaked he was deployed by Museveni’s political intelligence machinery alongside Maj Kakoza Mutale to neutralise opponents ahead of 2016.
“You don’t have to spend a lot of energy to know who I support,” he noted, adding, “You will know soon.”
He denied using police to curtail Mbabazi’s consultative meetings or the attack of youth on the former NRM Secretary General’s home.
“If it is plain politics, I have capacity to play without being violent,” he said.