Former chief of Internal Security Organization (ISO) sustained a bullet wound in the left leg after the battle for ballots between his son Amanya Tumukunde and Mwine Mpaka, a son to Maj. Bright Rwamirama — the State Minister for Agriculture, animal industries and fisheries — got mired in blood and iron.
Mpaka and Amanya on Monday evening went to the ballot at Kagote SDA SS in fort portal town to determine who replaces Gerald Karuhanga as Western Youth MP.
Eyewitnesses say that although the election was marred by gross irregularities thanks to shoddy work by the Electoral Commission officials, it had passed off as relatively peaceful until Lt. Gen. Tumukunde showed up at the poll venue.
HOW TUMUKUNDE WAS SHOT
Sources who witnessed the Tumukunde shooting by a military police officer say trouble for the general began on Sunday when his son Amanya detected attempts to rig him out.
Sources say that on Sunday, all delegates that were to participate in the election were accredited and cleared to enter the voting venue inside Kagote SDA SS.
The order from the regional returning officer, Deo Natukunda, was that once inside the school, no accredited delegate would move out until he/she has cast their vote.
This was apparently in a bid to curtail sneaking in of pre-ticked ballots.
It is said that all was well until Monday morning when reports began going round that Mwine’s henchmen; supported by soldiers loyal to his dad, were kidnapping Amanya’s delegates and locking them up in an unknown location.
Sources say that to this effect, Amanya’s group went and filed a police case at fort portal police station.
It is believed that it was on the backdrop of these reports that Amanya’s group summoned his dad, Gen. Tumukunde to come and help out. At around 5:30pm, voting kicked off amidst complaints that the earlier register that was drawn on Sunday had been quashed and replaced with a new one that was grossly flawed.
“The Monday register had most of Amanya’s known delegates missing, while many had wrong names put against their pictures and vice versa, rendering them ineligible to vote,” a source said.
However, no sooner had the voting begun, than Tumukunde arrived with a group of escorts.
He tried to gain access to the voting area but he was shoved away, forcing him to pitch camp outside the school gate.
However, Tumukunde’s presence outside the voting area incensed Mwine’s supporters, who claimed that his car was loaded with sacks of money that the general intended to use to bribe their voters.
A scuffle then ensued between Amanya and Mwine’s delegates, leading to a physical confrontation between Amanya and the regional returning officer, Deo Natukunda.
The fiasco drew security operatives led by Rwenzori Regional Police Commander, Dennis Namuwoza, who threw Amanya out of the hall, accusing him of trying to bully them.
On seeing his son being tossed like a whiff of paper, a charged Tumukunde dashed to his rescue.
By midnight however, Amanya’s group had realised that he was destined for a loss and so they started exiting the poll venue.
Sources say that as the first group was getting out, a group of military police personnel led by Lt. Col. Karuhanga sped towards them from the opposite direction.
“When they reached us, one of the soldiers speaking Runyankole started taunting us saying ‘Mwatuhona, twaba nituza kubateera’ (meaning you have survived us; we were going to thump you),” an eyewitness from Tumukunde’s camp told Red Pepper last night.
Shortly after however, the second batch of Amanya supports came wailing, accusing the soldiers of beating them up as they sped towards Tumukunde who was by then surrounded by the first group.
On receiving them, Tumukunde summoned one boy who had sustained wounds around the waist to identify the soldier who wounded him.
“As he (the boy) pointed at the soldier, the people in the group together with Gen. Tumukunde began photographing him using their phones. At that moment, a command came through in Kiswahili saying ‘piga lisasi! piga lisasi! piga lisasi!’ (Meaning shoot! shoot! shoot!). Instantly, three bullets went off, followed by a teargas canister.
Amanya’s supporters scampered for dear life and it was amidst this confusion that Amanya cried out that his dad had been shot in the leg.
Later, it emerged that one of Tumukunde’s aides had also been shot in the leg while several other supporters had sustained injuries during the scuffle.
Eyewitnesses say that on realizing that he had been shot, Tumukunde moved to the gate and attempted to force his way in while calling Lt. Col. Karuhanga to come out; albeit in vain.
Having failed to get out, Tumukunde herded all his people out of the voting area and they left the place.
It later emerged that Amanya — who contested as an independent against NRM flag bearer, Mpaka, garnered 463 against the latter’s 660 votes. The third candidate, a one Nuwasasira, got only 10 votes in the results that were announced at around 2:50am.
Tumukunde was later rushed to a nearby clinic for first aid, after which he was retired to his hotel room at Kalya Courts in Fort Portal town.
Sources add that the general was restrained by his bodyguards after he dashed to his car, vowing to teach his juniors a lesson for humiliating him — a whole General.
TUMUKUNDE SPEAKS OUT ON SHOOTING
Commenting on the incident yesterday, Tumukunde trashed earlier remarks by UPDF Spokesperson, Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda that he wasn’t shot but rather hit by a teargas canister.
Earlier, Ankunda had also chided Tumukunde, blaming him for poking his nose in youth elections in which he ideally had no stake as a senior citizen and full military general.
“You cannot fight with a pig in the dark and then claim you’ve been made dirty.”
Rtd Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde was not hit by a bullet but by a canister in Fort Portal as the youth election turned rowdy.
Clearly, it appears there was some flexing and police had to respond appropriately.
Stop the lies; Military police never beat anyone in Fort Portal at the western youth MP elections.
They actually rescued the situation.
“In all fairness and with due respect, what would a general, worth his salt be doing at youth election at 2am?” Ankunda tweeted.
However, Tumukunde dismissed Ankunda’s claims, saying as a trained soldier at the rank of general, he can differentiate between a bullet wound and that occasioned by a teargas canister.
He in fact went ahead to blame his shooting on UPDF Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Katumba wamala.
“I was shot by live bullets and under instructions of CDF, Katumba Wamala,” Tumukunde said.
“Do you think as a General I don’t know the difference between a teargas canister and a bullet?” he said in a press conference he held at Kalya Courts.
WHY TUMUKUNDE WAS SHOT
One may wonder why our decorated bush war General could have ended up being injured seriously while he tried by all means to ensure that his son makes it to 10th parliament.
It’s noteworthy that the 10th Parliament is a very crucial organ in the next five years and whoever dominates it politically has a clearer chance of replacing President Museveni in the 2021 general election.
Lt. Gen. Tumukunde currently leads the queue of those with ambitions to succeed Museveni within the ruling NRM party after the miserable exit of ex-super minister, Amama Mbabazi.
During the recently concluded presidential election, Gen. Tumukunde used the rare opportunity posed by the Mbabazi threat to rally behind President Museveni after his ‘strategic’ reconciliation with the Commander-in-chief.
Unlike Gen. David Sejusa who campaigned for the Col. Dr. Kizza Besigye in total defiance of the UPDF Act, Tumukunde successfully negotiated his retirement and was officially discharged from UPDF and can now engage in active politics.
His target is not joining the opposition but rather using NRM structures to fulfil his ambition of becoming president.
Indeed during the recently concluded election, Tumukunde spent more time on reorganizing his political network and the majority of NRM MPs who defeated incumbents are linked to Tumukunde politically.
Therefore, a slot for his son as Youth MP was a matter of life and death since the youths have becomes a key voting constituency if any one wishes to become president.
FILLING MBABAZI GAP
The NRM party still enjoys massive support at the grassroots level and this is evident in the number of MPs the party has sent to the 10th parliament.
If President Museveni decides not to stand again in 2021 and senior NRM personalities like Mbabazi are already out of the NRM party, there is a big gap which most historicals are looking at and Gen. Tumukunde is among such historicals.
So, his being shot couldn’t have been accidental regarding the continued NRM internal power struggles to replace President Museveni in 2021.
WHY ALL HISTORICALS WERE HUMILIATED IN ELECTIONS
Pepper Intelligence reveals that during the recently concluded general elections, most NRM historicals lost not because they were not performing in parliament or in their constituencies; but there was a secret and deliberate plan to make sure that they don’t become part of the crucial 10th Parliament.
Maj. Gen. Jim Muhwezi and Dr. Crispus Kiyonga were the remaining respected NRM historicals on the floor of parliament and they commanded a large following among NRM MPs.
The only surviving historical are: Col. Fred Mwesigye, MP for Nyabushozi and Bright Rwamirama, MP Isingiro North.
On the side of UPDF representatives, Gen. Sejusa was already replaced when he escaped to UK during the 9th Parliament.
Gen Elly Tumwine may not be re-elected as UPDF representative in the 10th parliament. The UPDF will conduct its own elections and among the top 10 commanders, there is Brig. Muhoozi Kainerugaba who is eligible for election as UPDF representative.
If he accepts to represent the army, then the 10th Parliament will be interesting ahead of the 2021 general election.
GEN SEJUSA’S PREDICAMENT
When the top UPDF generals were attending a senior staff and command course in Jinja between 2004-2006, among them were: Gen. Salim Saleh, Gen. Sejusa, Gen. Tumwine, Brig. Noble Mayombo (RIP) and others, the instructors from UK and USA requested the above to write a paper each about their most desired subjects.
Intelligence sources indicate that Gen. Saleh wrote a paper on how to improve household income. Gen Tumwine wrote about parliamentary democracy, while Brig. Mayombo wrote about constitutional reforms.
However, Gen. Sejusa wrote on how to manage a transitional government from the military to civilian rule.
What Gen Sejusa wrote about is what is being witnessed in Ugandan politics and the key players are strategically positioning themselves to take power by all means.
WHY GEN. MUHWEZI CONCEDED DEFEAT
When the results for Rujumbura constituency in Rukungiri district were announced, Muhwezi had been defeated by FDC’s Fred Turyamuhweza.
However, Muhwezi did the noble thing of calling a press conference and congratulated his rival.
But later he turned out to be the only minister who organized a procession to celebrate Museveni’s reelection.
This was tactfully designed to remind Museveni that he is still in NRM as a CEC member and NRM chairman for Rukungiri district.
Gen. Museveni succeeded in getting his 5th term as president but governing Uganda in the next 5 years might become a nightmare.
The political threat is not from the opposition but from within the ruling NRM party.
Already, the president promised very many things in terms of service delivery in the next five years but it depends on his choice of ministers because those who were ‘massacred’ in elections are likely to join the opposition.
The same thing applies to reshuffles that he will make in the UPDF, ISO, Police, CMI, and other security agencies.
The next Museveni government must have a bearing on whether he is quitting presidency in 2021 or if Ugandans have to wait further.
But the succession war will continue and some casualties will fall before Uganda gets a peaceful transition from him to another president.
The NRM may have succeeded in throwing out historicals from parliament but they might still control the 10th Parliament by proxy.