Retired Brigadier Kasirye Gwanga’s criticism of President Museveni and his government came as a surprise to many, at a time when the country is faced with big corruption challenges.
In an early morning NBS TV Morning Breeze talk-show, the maverick Gwanga said all those that are convicted of corruption charges should be shot in public. He further said that if the first lady Janet Museveni gets to be found out to have stolen funds in the on-going OPM investigations, she should as well be shot. “Me being a soldier, all I know about is shooting,” he said in response to whether the corrupt should continue be given bail is currently the case I the courts of law.
On President Museveni ‘s recent proposal to deny bail to the corrupt, Gwanga said that he (the President) is getting in line, though he has taken so long. “We have seen so many cases where people should be in jail. You see Captain Mike Mukula in jail but his tribe mates are fighting to get him out of jail. So where are we? Why don’t you shoot Mukula and forget about him?”
It has been largely alleged in public that selective justice was applied in the cases of the other ministers who were accused together with Mukula and later acquitted. Gwanga had this to say; “We want them all. They will never get away from justice. Selective justice is there and I see it. Why should Mukula go to jail and Jim Muhwezi remains playing about? You hear them saying the First lady (Janet Museveni) presented a note to get money. Then the First Lady comes and lectures to us, but she is implicated. Because you are a First Lady; I don’t like your way of doing things.”
He said he was in prison at the time Museveni and his group went to the bush in 1981. “It is President Museveni who imprisoned us when they took over after the 1979 liberation war. When they went to the bush, they left us there in prison.” He added that he never wanted to join the struggle but circumstances forced him to do so.
“You know the late Andrew Kayiira went and attacked the Lubiri barracks, and I had an elder brother who was an air force pilot. He was picked up by government soldiers thinking it was me. When they realized he wasn’t, he was beaten to death. When they killed him I went after them.” He emphasized that his joining the NRM struggle was an act to avenge his brother’s death at the hands of Obote’s soldiers.
Although he praised the UPDF as a great army, he said that soldiers today live under pathetic conditions. “First of all we should not go to the ordinary shops like the way you do. We should go to an army shop where we should not pay tax. But have you ever seen an army shop here?”
He poured scorn on the army leadership for sidelining the old guard and moving on with young Turks in the army, saying that even in the Pentagon (US Defense Department), there are old generals who run the show.
On the alleged nepotism in the army and in government, Gwanga said that “the leader Museveni is a Munyankore, but he fought in Buganda. When they went to the bush, I was in prison. I just found them there. I don’t know how he created his core. I wouldn’t argue with him and I am not arguing with him on that.”
He downplayed the coup talk, saying Ugandans should not be bothered about such. “I told you that is a joke, you can’t do it. If you want to do it you will tangle with the Americans or the external forces. You know what is happening in Mali; the French troops had to come in. On whether the UPDF can act on orders of a few individuals, he said that “may be that is what President Museveni thinks, but he is joking. The army is the army. We soldiers are soldiers. If president Museveni thinks he can play about with the army, then he is a joker.”
He said he would tell Preisdent Museveni that “you are taking us astray” if he got a chance to meet him any time soon.
By Michael Wandati