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Moses Ali joins exclusive UPDF Generals’ club

The third deputy premier and deputy leader of government business, Lt Gen Moses Ali, has been promoted to the rank of General, an elevation that puts him amongst the highest echelons of the UPDF, hitherto a preserve of officers that hail from the President’s own backyard.

According to a radio call sent out by the Commander-in-Chief on Monday, Museveni promoted 32 other officers alongside Moses Ali. The others at the rank of General, whose company Moses Ali has joined, are Museveni himself; his brother, Salim Saleh; the Chief of Defence Forces, Aronda Nyakairima; Elly Tumwine and David Sejjusa — all from western Uganda.

This is a huge achievement for Moses Ali, who toiled in the vineyard before he could shatter the glass ceiling. In April 1990, Ali then a minister for Youth, Culture and Sports, was charged with treason for illegal possession of arms and ammunition. He was incarcerated in Luzira prison and later released in June 1992.

Daring soldiers

Amongst other prominent personalities who were promoted on Monday is Matayo Kyaligonza, a member of the historical high-command and one of the most daring fighters during the Luweero rebellion. Kyaligonza, currently Uganda’s ambassador to Burundi, has been a Brigadier since 1986. He has been promoted to the rank of Major General.

Kyaligonza’s escapades during the bush war, captured in his book Agony of Power, read like an epic Hollywood blockbuster. He commanded the Black Bomber unit, a covert urban squad that sprang ambushes against the enemy. Kyaligonza was arrested in 1983 and held in Room 211 in the dreaded Nile Mansions in Kampala, awaiting interrogation from Oyite Ojok, the UNLA Chief of Staff. Although handcuffed, Kyaligonza, in commando-style; tied bed-sheets onto the window pane and swung himself to the ground before he fled.

Julius Chihandae, who has been promoted to the rank of Brigadier, is one of the surviving 11 soldiers among the 41 that attacked Kabamba barracks on February 1, 1981. He provided 16 of the 27 guns during the audacious Kabamba barracks raid. His role was to neutralize the signal centre of the UNLA soldiers.

However, one of his colleagues shot and shattered his knee, making him the first causality of the NRA war. He was evacuated to the quarter guard where some of his colleagues had camped after failing to gain entry into the fortified underground armoury. Among other demanding assignments, Chihandae deputised the late Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema when the rebel NRA attacked Kiboga in June 1983.

The success of this operation lifted the spirits of the rebels, who had earlier been beaten at Bukalabi and Katiti, and were being pursued by the government army, UNLA. In the early 1990s, Chihandae was arrested amid suspicion that he wanted to shoot down President Museveni’s helicopter and overthrow his government. The army’s general court martial found him innocent and the charges were withdrawn.

He spent about a year in a dungeon in Lubiri barracks for allegedly aiding his friend, the renegade Col Ahmed Kashilingi, to flee the country. Thereafter, Chihandae fell on hard times and began selling charcoal and tomatoes for a living before he was rehabilitated. Little is known about Topher Agaba, previously a Captain, who has been promoted to the rank of Major. Like Chihandae, he was among the officers that raided Kabamba to start the protracted bush war.

Previous Rank

Name

New Rank

Lt Gen

Moses Ali (Rtd)

General

Brig

Matayo Kyaligonza (Rtd)

Maj Gen

Col

Julius Chihandae (Rtd)

Brig

Ag Col

Sikaje Geofrey Tumusiime

Col

Ag Col

Emmanuel Kwihangana

Col

Ag Col

Herbert Mbonye

Col

Major

Kaka Bagyenda (Rtd)

Col

Ag Lt Col

Lawrence Sam Kitts

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Elly Byaruhanga

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

John Kamya

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

David Magonge

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Philip Ongom

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Alfred Nangendo

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

James K Katera

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Samuel R Rwamutwe

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Paulo Opoo Omara

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Richard Nyeko Acela

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Richard Walekula

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Paddy Ankunda Barihaihi

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

Greep Mugisha

Lt Col

Ag Lt Col

David Lukanga

Lt Col

Ag Major

Moses Amule

Major

Capt

Topher Agaba (Rtd)

Major

Capt

James Mwesigye (RDC)

Major

Ag Capt

Emmy Johnson Opio

Capt

Ag Capt

John Otyang Kemu

Capt

Lt

Phillips Pope Agang

Capt

Lt

Terman T Kachemba

Capt

Lt

A Aron Mugaba

Capt

Lt

Gilbert K Musimenta

Capt

Lt

Badru Ssemakula Luyima

Capt

Lt

Robert Z Tumuhimbise

Capt

Lt

Paul Mugerwa

Capt

mutaizibwa@observer.ug

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