Brief Insight into Ugandan’s Army Commanders(1986-2009): Muntu Vs Kazini

Muntu is now an executive member of FDC

Hello UAH,

lam not a professional soldier and l will avoid petty wars at Bombo as who is a good and bad army commander. Each had strong and weak points. We interact with soldiers who praise Late Kaziini as we interact with others who praise General Aronda. On professionalism, Aronda is more credited as he is now and then sending officers some of which were on ‘’katebe’’ for years, for training here and abroad in preparation for promotions.

In my opinion,Mugisha Muntu was a good administrator but not a sound commander like Yoweri Museveni, Salim Saleh, David Tinyefuza, James Kaziini, Aronda Nyakairima etc…..He enjoyed good times with Sam Nannyumba, who was also an experienced administrator not a commander.

Muntu is credited for not being corrupt but he was never a field commander. He was good in reconnaissance. Muntu’s weakness was being an arm chair army commander, not a field commander like Salim Saleh, David Tinyefuza and James Kaziini. He cannot be personally responsible for what happened in the battle field

UPDF National Army?

We are all sympathetic with the conditions of our civil servants and soldiers serve in due to their numerical strength; police, army, teachers, nurses. Our economy cannot make for them heavens. Unlike Obote 1’s UA and UNLA, UPDF is a people’s army which has successfully transformed from a guerrilla force to a professional army. They are political but not partisan, so they know from where we have come from, where we have reached and where we are going. Some People seem not comfortable with the name NRA. But let me remind them that when DP wanted to change UNLA name to UA in 1980s but UPC led by Defence Minister Paulo Muwanga refused.

Fortunately UPDF was a consensus in Constituent Assembly since the army was NRA, the draft recommended for UAF and they all agreed with UPDF. Initially DP’s Sebaana Kizito was not comfortable with it because of the word people which, he said would reminding him of UPC and its atrocities. The army and the media are so crucial in the politics of Uganda and elsewhere and those who are hostile to them will never see the gates of State House.

Uganda People’s Defence Forces is composed of the regular force; Land Forces, Air Force where Marines is a Unit, support forces like Mechanized Regiment, Motor Unit and others. Then the Reserve Forces including veterans and our LDUs. It cannot be 100% percent one tribe.

However on a surface, most senior officers hail from south western Uganda. For example on NRM celebrations (26/Jan) at Kololo, the Chief of Defence Forces (Gen. Aronda Nyakairima), the Inspector General of Police (Maj. Gen. Kale Kayihura) and Commissioner General of Prisons (Dr.Byabasaiza) escorted the president when inspecting a guard of honour. They are all from South West. Yet in a land locked country, the most powerful man is Commander of Land Forces, Lt. Gen. Katumba Wamala. That was the position that made Idi Amin and Oyite Ojok powerful over Opolot and Tito Okello. So long as officers and men/women of UPDF and other forces are national in character, l don’t mind a few historicals mostly from one region who are phasing out. Can.Lt.Gen.Elly Tumwine, Salim Saleh or David Tnyefuza become chief of defence forces or Commander of Land Forces again? No. They are phasing out.

Late Kazini

One of the stupid things President George Bush did was to dismantle the Iraqi army, one million strong. It has taught him and his occupiers a lesson. A similar mistake was made by Tanzanians in 1979 when they disbanded Uganda Armed Forces as Idi Amin’s personal army. They regrouped in the Sudan and DR Congo and almost went with Obote and Okello Lutwa’s heads in Koboko in 1980. Ask Barig.Robert Rwenhururu. They became a prey for Isaac Lumago, Moses Ali, Faruq Minawa, Lutakome Kayiira and Yoweri Museveni’s recruitment against Obote ll regime. Brig.Kasirye Gwanga has been giving testimonies to that effect. Therefore any politician abusing UPDF will never step into power even for a day.

Ahmed Katerega


Gen. Muntu served as Army Commander for 8 years. Before him, Gen. Tumwiine served for about 3 years, and Gen Akandwanaho for about 1 year. After him, Gen. Odongo served in that post for about 4 years, JB Kazini for just less than two years.

Administration is one of the ten principles of war. You cannot be a good commander when you are not a good administrator. When Gen Muntu was the Division Commander 05 Div from 1989 to 1990 he was merely the in-charge of reconnaissance? From there he was promoted to Major General, from Colonel (two levels up) to be Army Commander. Was that a reward for his predilection for the arm chair?

A good commander should make a good Army Commander: the latter is just a particular type of commander. Was the chap called James Kazini a good Army Commander?

Even as a mere Lance Corporal, I can confidently counsel you against that mechanical dichotomy between command and administration……It is like talking of a ‘good journalist but a bad writer’; or ‘a good scribe who pays no attention to detail.’ To be one, you have to be the other. Short of that, you are neither!

The point is, there is a difference between a giraffe in a China shop and a good commander. Check out Kisangani , and check out the circus at Bombo UPDF Hqs particularly from November 2001 to sometime in 2003. If, in the field you just bungle and blunder around, you will do so even in administration. Do not confuse poor administrators who take refuge in ‘fieldism’, for good commanders.

UPDF National Army?

When you say:’Uganda People’s Defence Forces is composed of the regular force; Land Forces, Air Force where Marines is a Unit, support forces like Mechanised Regment, Motor Unit and others. Then the Reserve Forces including veterans and our LDUs. It can not be one percent one tribe.’

What are you actually telling us? Does UPDF’s technical heterogeneity imply ethnic representativeness? Your argument is what is called a non sequitur: an argument consisting of an absurd conclusion that has no logical connection to the premises on which it is based. Example: Mr Kateregga is a graduate of Political Science; he is a mulangira from Buddu. Therefore it is going to rain tomorrow. The arms and services you have listed are the ‘tribes’ of the military as an organisation. They tell us nothing about the ‘tribes’ of the membership. Do they?

New Vision always covers recruitment exercises. In your archives, there should be data on national recruitment, showing the turn-up of recruitment candidates in various localities. You could even quote the law (if any) stipulating ethnic quotas and showing that it is not possible for one ethnic group to dominate the UPDF. You could even quote for us data from the personnel department of the UPDF showing the force’s membership by ethnicity.

Then you go on to tell us that: ‘However on a surface, most senior officers hail from south western Uganda.’What does that statement actually mean? Do you mean, on the surface they are from the south, but when you scratch them deep they are from Karamoja? I remember reading a New Vision article some time in 2000 where you hero, Late James Kazini was quoted saying that, at that time, Nyabushozi county had a UPDF membership of 6,000 individuals. Do you remember that article? I think he was hosting a party for Mary Mugyenyi Rutamwebwa who was intending to contest for the Nyabushozi seat.

Otto Patrick


3 Comments so far. Leave a comment below.

  2. Why UPDF is Jealous and do not want to incoporate the 60,000 strong LRA battle ridden but academically nonesense?

  3. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite justification appeared to be on the
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    a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

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