KAMPALA- Gen Salim Saleh and Gen Elly Tumwine have been appointed to oversee the execution of the new changes in the UPDF top command which saw Gen Katumba Wamala dropped as Chief of Defence Forces and replaced by a much younger officer, Gen David Muhoozi, who was promoted from a lower rank of Major General.
The Monday night reshuffle which shook up the military hierarchy also saw other senior army officers deployed to new positions.
The President and Commander-in-Chief , Yoweri Museveni, promoted Maj Gen David Muhoozi from Major General to General, one rank higher, and named him successor to Gen Katumba, who was appointed State minister for Works.
The military shake-up also saw the President’s son Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, who had been commander of the presidential guard, Special Forces Command, appointed senior presidential adviser on Special Operations.
“The promotions take immediate effect. The handovers will be arranged accordingly and the President has instructed that Gen Salim Saleh and Gen Tumwine preside over these handovers and takeovers,” said Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, spokesman of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF).
The reshuffle announced through a military message and dispatched to all army units places seven young army officers in top and sensitive command positions.
The new officers who were appointed to the positions of Chief of Defence Forces, Deputy Chief of Defence Forces, commanders of Air Force, Land Forces, Special Forces, Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and Chieftaincy of Logistics are much younger than their predecessors, having joined the army between 1986 and 1997, after Museveni’s takeover of power by his guerrillas.
Previously, these command positions were mainly occupied by officers who joined the military in 1970s and early 1980s many of whom fought in the 1981-86 guerrilla war that brought Mr Museveni to power.
Many commentators perceive this reshuffle as a move by the President to phase out the army old guard who have the Bush War hangover and a claim to his ascendency to power and think he is perpetually indebted to them.
The young officers who have taken over the top command have no claim to President Museveni’s ascendency to power and therefore he is not burdened with the perception of indebtedness to them.
In the new shake-up, Brig Wilsom Mbadi, the former Joint Chief of Staff, is now the new Deputy Chief of Defence Forces and has been promoted to Lieutenant General.
Brig Mbadi replaces Lt Gen Charles Angina who also has replaced Maj Gen Nakibus Lakara. Maj Gen Lakara has not been redeployed.
Nobody has been named for the position of the new Joint Chief of Staff, so it remains vacant.
Brig Peter Elwelu, who recently commanded the attack on the Kasese palace of Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere that left more than 100 people dead, was promoted to Major General and appointed Commander of Land Forces, the fourth top position in the UPDF hierarchy. He has replaced Maj Gen David Muhoozi, the new Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).
Maj Gen Elwelu’s appointment, however, has drawn criticism from politicians in Kasese who accuse him of presiding over the deadly attack on the king’s palace.
“It’s unfortunate that Brig Elwelu has been promoted to command the Land Forces with that bad criminal record against him. Was he being rewarded?” Kasese Municipality MP, Mr Robert Centenary, said.
However, Lt Col Ankunda defended Maj Gen Elwelu’s promotion, saying it was based on his experience in command both in Uganda and in peace keeping operations against al-Shabaab militants in Somalia.
“Our new commander of Land Forces Maj Gen Peter Elwelu, who has been until recently the Commander of 2nd Division, has commanded at several other levels, including the first UPDF Battle Group to Somalia in 2007. So, there should not be any questions whatsoever. These are very competent commanders and we should only wait to see what they do,” Lt Col Ankunda said.
In other army changes, Brig Charles Lutaaya, 54, is the new commander of Air Force, a key UPDF service force. He has replaced Maj Gen Sam Turyagyenda, 65, who has been appointed Senior Presidential Adviser on Air Force matters.
Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba’s deputy, Lt Col Don Nabaasa, has taken over the command of the Special Forces and promoted to colonel.
Lt Col Abel Kandiho was given a key and influential position of military intelligence upon promotion to the rank of colonel, replacing Brig Charles Bakahumura, who has been appointed new Chief of Logistics and Engineering, succeeding Brig Charles Otema. Brig Otema was named Reserve Force commander.
In 2015, the Uganda Human Rights Commission applauded Brig Bakahumura for “working to end” torture of suspects in undesignated secret detention cells commonly known as “safe houses” by security operatives.
Brig Sam Okiding, who until recently was the UPDF Contingent Commander in Somalia, was promoted to Major General and remains substantive commander of the Field Artillery Division which he headed before his deployment to peace operations in Somalia. Brig Gavas Mugyenyi was promoted to Major General and remains commander of Air Defence Division.
New UPDF commanders
Gen David Muhoozi. Until his new appointment as Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen David Muhoozi has been commanding the Land Forces.
He skipped the rank of Lt Gen and was promoted to General. He has grown through the ranks since joining the military in 1985. He started out as Defence Counsel for the General Court Martial.
In 1997, he was assigned to Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence as staff officer for general duties, serving in that role for the next four years.
He previously served as Commander of Entebbe Air Force Base, Brigade Commander, Motorised Infantry Brigade in Nakasongola, Airforce Chief of Staff, Commander of Air Defence Division at the Nakasongola Air Force Base and Commander of the Armoured Brigade in Masaka.
Born in in 1965, Gen Muhoozi holds a Bachelor of Laws degree and a Master’s of Arts in International Affairs.
Lt Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi. Gen Mbadi, who served as President Museveni’s bodyguard for more than five years, is now the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.
He has until recently been serving as the Joint Chief of Staff. He was promoted and appointed commander of the army’s 4th Division based in Gulu. Gen Mbadi joined UPDF in 1986.
In 1991, he was commissioned, following the completion of a cadet course at Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in the United Kingdom.
He has attended a number of other military colleges locally and in Zambia, Tanzania, Kenya and India. Gen Mbadi was born on June 10, 1962 in Kasese District.
He holds a Master’s in Strategic Studies from the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, United States of America. He has commanded the Armoured Brigade in Masaka. Gen Mbadi was born on June 10, 1962 in Kasese District.
Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Maj Gen Kainerugaba’s military career has largely been in the Special Forces Command, which evolved from the Presidential Guard Brigade and the Special Forces Group.
The First Son has been commanding SFC until his appointment as Senior Presidential Adviser for Special Operations in charge of the President’s security and other sensitive installations in the country. Kainerugaba attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, graduating in 2000.
He has also attended a number of military courses in Egypt and South Africa. He is a graduate of the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. He was born in April, 24, 1972, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Maj Gen Peter Elwelu
He has been promoted to the rank of Major General and appointed commander Land Forces. Gen Elwelu has been commanding the Mbarara-based 2nd Division Brigade.
He recently came to the light for commanding the raid on the Rwenzururu Kingdom’s Buhikira Palace that left more than 100 people dead. Brig Elwelu joined the armed forces in 1987. He was commander of the first Ugandan military contingent deployed to Somalia.
Brig General Sam Okiding
Maj Gen Okiding, who until recently was the Contingent Commander of UPDF troops in Somalia, has been promoted from Brigadier to Maj Gen and remains substantive commander of Field Artillery Division that he commanded before going to Somalia for peace operations against al-Shabaab militants.
Maj Gen Gavas Mugyenyi
Promoted from Brigadier to Maj Gen and remains in command of Air Defence Division.
Col Don Nabaasa. He has been the head of the First Battalion of Special Forces Command. Has been promoted to Colonel and appointed Commander of Special Forces, the elite presidential guard.
He joined UPDF in the late 1990s as a cadet officer. After his training in the cadet course in Jinja, he joined the then Presidential Guard Brigade now Special Forces Command.
He commanded the motorised infantry and when the Special Forces Group was elevated to the Special Forces Command, he became the commander of its First Battalion. Col Nabaasa has previously deputised Maj Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the then SFC commander.
Maj Gen Nakibus Lakara
He has been the Deputy Commander of Operation Wealth Creation. He has been recalled to defence headquarters for redeployment.
Lt Gen Charles Angina
He has held the Deputy CDF post since May 2013. He has now been named the Deputy Commander of Operation Wealth Creation.
Gen Angina has previously commanded UPDF operations inside DR Congo and been Uganda’s military advisor to Uganda’s diplomatic missions in Tanzania and the United States of America. He also chaired the General Court Martial and served as Chief of Staff of Land Forces.
Maj Gen Sam Turyagenda
He has been the Commander Air Force and been appointed Senior Presidential Advisor on Air Forces matters.
Maj Gen Charles Otema
Promoted from Brigadier to Maj Gen and appointed Commander of Reserve Forces. He has been the Chief of Logistics and Engineering.
Brig Charles Bakahumura
He has been moved from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and appointed Chief of Logistics and Engineering. He coordinated the return of former UPDF renegade officer Lt Col Anthony Kyakabale in 2015.
Brig Charles Lwanga Lutaaya
He has been the Deputy Commander Air Forces. He has been promoted to the rank of Maj Gen and appointed Commander Air Forces.
He had been a Presidential pilot until 2014 when he replaced Brig Moses Rwakitirate as the Air Force Chief of Staff. Brig Rwakitarate was sacked following the scandalous crash of four UPDF helicopters in Mt Kenya.
Brig Lutaaya is said to have been President Museveni’s MI-17 helicopter pilot during the recently concluded campaigns.
Col Abel Kandiho
He has been a staff officer under the office of State Minister for Defence in charge of Veteran Affairs. He has been promoted to the rank of Colonel and appointed Chief of Military Intelligence.
Col Kandiho has spent much of his career doing military intelligence work in different capacities. He has had previous deployments at the Military Police and the Joint Anti-Terrorist Task Force.