Maj. John Kazoora and Brig. Kasirye Ggwanga.

As the army prepares to mark its annual Tarehe Sita tomorrow, retired senior army officers have described promotions within the army as lacking in transparency and tinged with ethnic consideration.

Tomorrow will mark 31 years since the NRM wedged the bush war that eventually overthrew the government of Gen. Tito Okello and Gen. Okello Lutua in 1986 and brought President Museveni to power.

Speaking to SundayMonitor in separate interviews ahead of the celebrations, Maj. (retired) John Kazoora now Secretary for Security in the Opposition FDC party and Brig. Kasirye Ggwanga, the Presidential Adviser on Security in Buganda region, the two concurred that UPDF has no clear methods of army promotion.

Maj. Kazoora who, once served as a special district administrative officer and deputy director general of Internal Security Organisation under the President’s office but now an active opposition politician, said the UPDF is mingled in politics with some army officers sitting in a multi- party Parliament yet they should be seen as non-partisan institution.

“There is no transparency in promotions. I don’t want to mention names but a person is recruited, in 10 years he becomes a General yet those who have served for long with experience and qualifications have remained on junior ranks for long,” said Maj. Kazoora.

Maj. Kazoora attacked President Museveni for refusing to listen to his bush colleagues and instead treating his critics as “subversive” elements. “When (Brig. Henry) Tumukunde was still running Museveni’s errands, he was his favourite but when he started questioning the way things were running, he became subversive. We also know that within UPDF, there is no transparency in choosing who goes for further military courses,” he said.

Meanwhile, Brig. Ggwanga scoffed at the credibility of the army ranks saying they cannot be trusted. The controversial long time soldier explained why after 40 years in army service in general and 26 in particular with the UPDF, he has never been appointed a General or even army chief.

“Never trust Ugandan titles!” he said, adding, “They give you when they want and feel like!” He cited some officers whom he said have gained higher ranks than him even though he is better trained and experienced than some of them and because his “integrity and ethical record is spotless clean.”

Maj. Kazoora decried the current tribal imbalance in the army with most of the Generals coming from the same region. “The perpetrators of corruption are protected by the President. I don’t know how you feel [about the] saying that Abanyankole Bali Mu Kintu (Banyankole are the ones running this country). This is because people see army Generals coming from the same place. This causes lots of dissatisfaction. The current Generals are promoted like mushrooms sprouting from the ground. What historical imbalance cannot be explained in 30 years?” he said.

However, responding to the remarks army spokesperson Felix Kulayigye said the two officials have no moral authority to comment about a ‘respectable institution’ where they retired several years ago.

“In the UPDF, we promote individuals basing on the period of service, courses attended, level of education, discipline and I am sure you know the discipline of some of those individuals you have quoted. We also base on performance,” Col. Kulayigye told Sunday Monitor.

He added: “Minus that, I regard their criticism as sour-grapping. I will not indulge in discussing individuals you have quoted. They are retired. Kazoora left the army almost 20 years ago and Kasirye is out of active service. Are they competent enough to comment on an institution they left long time. Kasirye has ever stated on radio that he cannot serve beyond Karuma and was that a professional statement,” he asked.

By MERCY NALUGO, Daily Monitor

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