What criteria did President Museveni use to promote 40 UPDF senior officers?

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Reported by
Faridah N Kulumba

Africa-PressUganda. The newly elected president of Uganda Yoweri Kaguta Museveni promoted 40 senior officers of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) to higher ranks weeks before his swearing in.

According to the list which was released by the UPDF spokesperson Brigadier General Flavia Byekwaso on Friday 23 April 2021,said that President Museveni who is also Commander in Chief of armed forces, promoted 7 Brigadiers to the rank of Major General, while 33 Colonels were promoted to the rank of Brigadiers Generals.

Brigadier General Kayanja Muhanga who coordinated security operations in Kampala during the January 14, 2021 general elections, was among the notable officers and was promoted to the rank of Major General.

Muhanga was the UPDF Contingent Commander in Somalia, and during his tenure, he battled Al-Shabaab militias that had made AMISOM operations almost impossible for more than two years.

Almost every year president Museveni promotes army officers  to various ranks. Last year he promoted more than 20  officers to different higher ranks, and among the noted one was Abel Kandiho who was promoted from the rank of Brigadier  to Major General.

In January 2017, Museveni promoted his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba from Brigadier to the rank of Major General and became a special presidential adviser.

And in February 2019 Museveni promoted over 2000 UPDF personnel including his son Kainerugaba  who was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General the second highest rank in Uganda, which fuelled the speculation that he was being groomed to become a president as African news reported.

The paradigm

According to the Uganda People’s Defence Act 2005, the promotion of an officer shall be signed by the president or any other person or body authorised by him or her.

In 2020 when president Museveni promoted over 20 officers, the then UPDF defence spokesman Brigadier Richard Karemire revealed that some promotions were made due to the officers seniority, deployment and training courses they attended as PML Daily reported.

But in 2017 when  Museveni promoted Brigadier Peter Elweru, who oversaw a deadly raid in November on the palace of a regional king who was accused of launching a secessionist movement was promoted to army chief, The BBC reported that the promotion was being seen as a reward for the operation, in which more than 60 people were killed.

A senior political analyst who wished to remain anonymous told Africa-Press that the promotions are approved on recommendation of the Commissions Board, and the list is sent to the president who promotes and that he can wish to promote any officer even when is not on the Commissions Board list.

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