Wanted Ugandan general Sejusa 'in hiding in London'

Spy chief Sejusa claims he is being pursued by undercover agents and that his life is in danger

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 May, 2013, 3:07am


A wanted Ugandan general who questioned the president's succession plan has requested the protection of British police and won't return home anytime soon, his lawyer said.

General David Sejusa is now hiding from Ugandan undercover agents allegedly sent to track him down in London, where he is travelling, said Ugandan lawyer Joseph Luzige.

"Sejusa told me there is a team of people who have been sent to London to hunt him down," the lawyer said. "He said these people's intentions are not good at all."

Luzige said Sejusa, who sits on Uganda's military high command and directs the country's domestic and foreign spy agencies, believes his life is in danger and is now "very cautious".

Sejusa recently wrote to the internal security service urging an investigation into reports that those opposed to the rise of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni's son risk assassination. Details of the letter were published in a Kampala newspaper whose premises have since been occupied by police looking for evidence against Sejusa.

Sejusa cited himself, Uganda's prime minister, and a since-fired army boss among those at risk of being killed in an allegedly secret plan for Museveni's son to succeed his father as president.

The general's concerns have stirred controversy in Uganda, where divisions among the military elite are rarely revealed in public. Uganda's army leadership has accused Sejusa of breaking the country's military laws, while a government minister who speaks for Museveni said the general has "clear presidential ambitions".

The operations of the Daily Monitor newspaper have since been shut down by police who want its journalists to reveal how they obtained a copy of Sejusa's letter.

The journalists have resisted, saying the demands go against freedom of the press. In a statement, Amnesty International urged Ugandan authorities to stop what it called "an attack on freedom of expression."

Museveni, who has held power in Uganda for nearly three decades, has never said he sees his son as his political heir. But the son, a senior army official named Muhoozi Kainerugaba, has been rapidly promoted in the army over the years, leading many Ugandans to believe he is being groomed for high office.

Last year he was promoted to the rank of brigadier in changes that saw him take full charge of the country's special forces, answering directly to his father.

Sejusa, a decorated hero of the bush war that brought Museveni to power in 1986, has a history of standing up to the president. In the 1990s he tried and failed to quit the army after accusing its leadership of incompetence in battles against the fugitive warlord Joseph Kony. Analysts say he is one of an older generation of army officers disgruntled over the first son's growing influence.

Just over two weeks since details of Sejusa's letter became public, Museveni on Friday announced changes in the military that saw the dismissal of army chief General Aronda Nyakairima, cited in Sejusa's letter as among those opposed to the rise to Museveni's son.

It remains unclear if Museveni, re-elected in 2011, will run again when his term expires in 2016. But he faces growing pressure within his party to retire.

Judith Nabakooba, spokeswoman for Ugandan police, said she couldn't comment on the matter of Sejusa. "I've not been briefed," she said.