KAMPALA – According to the cabinet list released by President Museveni last month read together with the list of the latest Permanent Secretaries, as well as other departments of Government, the army and those with a military background have taken over the state of affairs.
In effect, the police and civilians under certain sectors of the economy will have to take instructions directly from the men and women associated with the military uniform.
It has always been assumed that those with military background understand the chain of command and follow superior orders without questioning and are afraid to make mistakes.
Without a doubt, the chain of command is one of the most durable concepts in military organizations. From Roman times until present, the chain of command fixed formal authorities and accountability from the highest leader to the front line soldier. It made the generation, issuing, and following of orders simple despite the vastness of formations being put to battle.
The chain also formalized the separation of officers and soldiers into different castes. As societies industrialized, formal chains of command were instituted in bureaucracy which would become the leading model of organization in the civilian sector.But times are changing, and the civilian sector has been moving away from traditional bureaucracies because they can be too rigid when faced with challenges of the information age.
From “flattening” organizations in the late 20th century to today’s algorithmic management, modern control and coordination structures are flexible and more responsive.
Soldiers never feel undermined even when a junior is their boss. For instance, General David Rubakuba Muhoozi who has been Chief of Defense Forces has been reduced to a mere state Minister in the ministry of internal Affairs, a position which he gladly accepted.
He does not seem bothered that he is superior in rank to his current boss Major General (Rtd) Kahinda Otafiire who is the full cabinet Minister of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Such is Museveni’s new approach for his term code named securing your future with solders at every level.
Still under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is Lt. Gen Joseph Musanyufu who has been named Permanent Secretary in the same Ministry. Recall that when the well trained and experienced Godfrey Sasagah was pushed out of the Directorate of Immigration and passport Control, a unit under the Ministry of Internal Affairs, he was replaced by a soldier Major General Gowa Apollo as the overall head of the department.
Under Major General Gowa is Brigadier Johnson Namanya as a commissioner for Passport Control and Colonel Geoffrey Kambere for Immigration Control who are also military officers whose task was to reorganize the department beginning with the e-passport for the East African Community. Whatever Museveni’s motive may be, the entire top leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs has a background in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
The National Identification Registration Authority (NIRA) is yet another department mandated to over-see the issuance of birth and death certificates as well as National Identity cards under the Ministry of Internal Affairs whose top leadership includes a military officer Brigadier Stephen Kwiringira, the director in charge of registration and operations.
It is a well known fact that the Ministry of Internal Affairs is the line ministry under which the Uganda Police force falls and so is the directorate of immigration and the NGO board, National Identification Registration Authority among other departments.
Surely with all the well trained man power in the Uganda Police, why does the President choose to place army officers in positions intended for Police officers? How come there is no police officer serving in any position in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces?
The Uganda Police Force is directly headed by Okoth Ochola but it appears all authority lies with his deputy Major General Paul Lokech, a serving Military officer.
Still working in a position intended for the Police under the Ministry of Internal Affairs is Major General Jack Bakasumba who is serving as Police Chief of Joint Security.
Brigadier Christopher Sserunjogi Damulira is the current Director of Police Crime Intelligence and like the others mentioned above, he is an active military officer.
Brigadier Geoffrey Golooba is another military officer is the Uganda Police Directorate of Human Resource Development and Training.
The Police Director for Human Resource Administration is Colonel Jesse Kamunanwire. The military in Uganda falls under the Ministry of Defense and the Mnistry of Security while the Uganda Police Force is under the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Under the constitution, the army has a different responsibility from that of the Police and merging them raises serious questions. What is the secret is trying to fuse the two?
It is obvious that the head of state himself is none other than General Yoweri Museveni Kaguta whose Vice President is Major (Rtd) Jessica Rose Epel Alupo.
The current second Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Leader of Government Business in Parliament is Right Honourable General (Rtd) Moses Ali.
That means in every five positions in the political leadership of Uganda, at least three positions are held by people with a clear military background.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs is General Abubaker Jeje Odongo who has just been transferred from the ministry of Internal Affairs while Minister of Works and Transport is General Edward Katumba Wamala who was serving in the same Ministry before the recent appointments. No doubt these two are part of the top brass of the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
Another person who bounced back in the recent appointment was Major General (Rtd) Jim Katugugu Muhwezi.
He is the current Minister under the office of the President in charge of Security. Muhwezi is one of the bush war comrades who served previously as minister in different portfolios under the leadership of Museveni but got soiled with the GAVI scandal leading to his exit from cabinet. Minister of Tourism, Wildlife and Antiquities is Colonel (Rtd) Tom Butime who has also served as minister in different positions over the years. He is also a retired soldier in the Uganda People’s Defense Forces.
The Minister of State for Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries is Lieutenant Colonel (Rtd) Bright Kanyontore Rwamirama while the Minister of State for Gender, Labour and Social Development (Labour, Employment and Industrial Relations) is Colonel (Rtd) Charles Engola.
Whereas these two are retired officers, they have a military background and clearly know the chain of command and how it works. Whether their positions are a reward for their loyalty and dedication is a topic for another day.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries has also been given a soldier Major General David Kyomukama as its permanent secretary who by implication is the overall accounting officer for the whole ministry.
Whereas Betty Kamya has been appointed Inspectorate of Government, most of her work atleast from what has been going on under Justice Mulyagonja will be done by State House Anti Corruption Unit headed by another solder Colonel Edith Nakalema. It looks like Museveni has lost trust in the Police Force and civilians and has decided to have a military eye watching from the peripheral on all the activities being executed by the Police and civilian civil servants.
From the onset, Operation wealth creation was created by the President and immediately placed under the supervision and leadership of the army. It is headed by Salim Saleh who has deployed soldiers in every district of Uganda to supervise the project. Whether the operation has served its purpose is a discussion for another day.
Finally, all Ugandan embassies while headed by Ambassadors, they are closely supervised by Military attachés. These attachés make all the decisions on behalf of Uganda and have them endorsed by the designate Ambassador hence rendering the Ambassadors rubber stamps with no specific role to play.
Besides, many of our Ambassadors are current or former soldiers serving under the Uganda People’s Defense forces an example being Major General Matayo Kyaligonza who is Uganda’s Ambassador to Burundi.
As if that is not enough, there are 10 UPDF Soldiers in Parliament who purport to represent the army. None represents those in the Uganda Police and the Prisons. Whereas they don’t say much, they influence how things are done in Parliament without saying a word.
That is how powerful these men in Uniform have become and we hope they will deliver to Ugandans the future that Uganda has been waiting for since 1986. We hope soldiers are not positioning themselves for change of power to Museveni’s successor.
Rogers Wadada is a Human Rights Activist and Politician