General Tinyefuza may have sympathy from some elements of the opposition, but surely it is crocodile tears.
There are some in FDC who hate Tinyefuza’s guts so badly. You remember when Tinyefuza was moving from one political party to another ‘mobilising’ them to remove the NRM after his return from UK?
General Muntu for one despises him and may not meet him. I promised to tell you the reason and here it is partly.
Many of those former senior officers did not like him. Vivian Asedri and I were the only journalists allowed by General Tinyefuza to cover the anti-Kony ‘operation North’ when it started in March 1991 but he also soon sent Asedri away to Kampala.
One day Tinyefuza, as Minister of State for Defence, summoned Army Commander Mugisha Muntu to Lira and made him to sit for three days in Lira Hotel, refusing to meet him, while telling us “these idiots don’t know what they are doing otherwise this war would have been over yesterday”.
Mugisha Muntu was lucky that Tinyefuza finally met him after three days. Brigadier Joram Mugume, the Chief of Combat Operations was made to sit for five days while Tinyefuza made little feasts at his residence where he would invite some local leaders and some of us.
He ordered Lt. Col. Reuben Ikondere, the Division Commander of NRA 5th Division to leave his house and ‘go to Kampala and when Ikondere delayed to leave, he asked soldiers to ‘bomb that house’. Ikondere was hearing on the walkie-talkie radio and fled the house in a huff!
This kind of humiliation became too much for some of the senior commanders. At a High Command Meeting in Entebbe they complained to the Commander-in-Chief who sacked Tineyfuza and made hims a presidential advisor on Defence. He sulked for sometime before demanding to leave the army, without success, until making up again with the leadership.
Tinyefuza’s insolence did not start yesterday. Some of us watched but dared not report it in the press. One day president Museveni sent a message inviting Tinyefuza as Minister of State for Defence to report to Entebbe State House for an important meeting. Tinyefuza would not directly read his messages however confidential and preferred that the signaler reads it out to him allowed, in presence of even civilians.
Guess what he said. “Tell him (the president) that I do not have a helicopter at my disposal now and would arrive at 5pm instead of 2pm”. Yet, there were three helicopters parked and fueled ready for take off.
I one evening told him that many people were not happy about the strong hand treatment meted out during the cordon and search operations and especially that some of the arrested 18 northern leaders were seen as innocent and he simply told me “Billie stop thinking like a kid. I did not expect them to applaud me or the government”.
On the other hand, despite being heavy handed, Tinyefuza’s operations weakened Kony quite a lot and Kony never recovered until he went to Sudan in 1994 and found new allies there.
Let’s watch the next chapter in the controversial life of this General.
By the way, that ruse he pulled of changing his name from Tinyefuza to ‘Sejusa’ three years ago is nothing really. When I went into his house on Acacia Avenue Kololo in 1991, currently occupied by the Kenya High Commission as offices, Tinyefuza had a stuffed leopard in his living room and on the wall was his law degree certificate in the name of ‘David Sejusa Munungu Tinyefuza”.
So what change was this? It is like a Lango man saying he is changing his name from ‘Ogwang’ to ‘Fox’. They mean the same.
Billie Kadameri via the UAH forum