The Presidential Advisor on Defense and the Chairman of the Military Land Board, Lt. Gen. Joram Mugume and the Commander of the UPDF Special Forces, Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba were on Monday among dozens of high ranking military officers decorated with new ranks at a ceremony in Mbuya, Kampala.
Mbuya Hill, an upscale Kampala suburb, serves as the strategic headquarters of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and the Ministry of Defense (MOD). The Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala presided over the colorful function.
In a military radio communication to all army units on 16 May, Gen. Katumba Wamala announced that President Yoweri Museveni, the Commander-In-Chief of the UPDF, had promoted Maj. Gen. Mugume to the new rank of Lt. Gen., and Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba to Maj. Gen. Lt. Gen. Mugume also served as Deputy Army Commander from 1998 to 2001.
Others promoted included the Deputy Commander of the Air Force, Col. Charles Lutaaya to Brig., the Chief of Staff Air Force Col. James Birungi to Brig., and the Deputy Commander of the Special Forces, Col. Muzeyi Sabiiti to Brig. In total, 692 officers were promoted throughout the various UPDF units and formations around the country and those serving with foreign missions in Somalia and the Central African Republic (CAR).
Ten senior army officers at the rank of Colonel led by Anthony Kyakabale were also promoted and retired.
Lt. Gen. Mugume, who spoke on behalf of the newly promoted officers, thanked the army leadership and the President for recognizing their hard work and rewarding them with well deserved promotions. “I’m proud to have participated, right from the beginning, in the NRA and now UPDF that is responsible for laying the strong foundation and stability for Uganda’s transformation. There are now multiple generations of UPDF officers and men, and all these are now contributing to the great name of the UPDF around the world,” observed Lt. Gen. Mugume.
Addressing the media on the sidelines of the event, the newly decorated Special Forces Commander Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba dismissed the widely discussed topic of the “Muhoozi Project” as “non-existent” and a “red herring.”
The Muhoozi project first came to the public fore in May 2013 when the then Coordinator of Intelligence services Gen. David Sejusa wrote a dossier suggesting that President Museveni was grooming his son to take over the presidency. Gen. Sejusa fled to self imposed exile in the UK in the immediate aftermath before returning back to the country in December of 2014.
“I don’t have the ambition to be president. I’m very happy in the military and that’s where I intend to stay for some time. If one wanted to become president, there are well laid out procedures in our constitution for every Ugandan, including me,” explained Maj. Gen. Muhoozi.
Maj. Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba also emphasized the cohesive spirit of the UPDF, contrary to misleading claims in some sections of the media that the SFC had now become autonomous or independent. “Talk of independence is misplaced. There is nothing like independence in the UPDF; it is a joint force, and we all work together,” said Muhoozi.
The CDF, Gen. Katumba Wamala, implored army officers in active service and those in retirement to work hard and jealously guard the country’s hard won peace and security as a strategic national interest. “You must always desist from all forms of ideological manipulation and bad politics as it will undermine the process of building and consolidating our national unity,” counseled Gen. Wamala.