Former Head of Intelligence Services Gen David Sejusa yesterday described himself as a “defeated general” who had to measure his options and fall back, rather than take the risk of confronting his boss, President Yoweri Museveni, with little or no support behind him.
In hours of a Twitter exchange with his followers, Gen Sejusa, who fell out with the army and fled to exile in early 2013, before being allowed back into the country one and a half years later, said he had no choice but to apologize to the Commander in Chief.
Sejusa said upon returning from exile he had two choices; first to “become an outlaw, go to mountains and wage war,” for which he had no support of the masses; or to “apologize to the commander in chief as any defeated general does.”
“The talk then, was as is now, “leave them, bebamu! (they are all the same),” Gen Sejusa said. “…I had lost that battle. Not the war.”
Gen Sejusa, who is hoping soon to be retired from the army, responded to several questions raised by Twitter users on his contribution to the alleged atrocities and human rights violations by the national army, when he was serving high up its command.
According to Amnesty International, Gen Sejusa participated and later defended the National Resistance Army’s counter-insurgency operations in the northern Districts of Gulu, Kitgum, Lira and Apac, which entailed closing all roads leading into the northern region and effectively severing the north from the rest of the country.
According to Amnesty, the NRA troops were responsible for human rights violations during the course of a “screening” exercise, with allegations of extrajudicial execution, rape, beating and arbitrary arrest.
Gen Sejusa, then a Minister of State for Defence, who personally supervised the operation is reported to have tried to demonstrate the effectiveness of this operation by announcing in early April 1991 that rebels arrested during the operation would be charged with treason.
When asked yesterday by one Twitter user Jonah Munie, whether he regretted these actions, Gen Sejusa implied that he had already atoned for the actions and regretted them through his various writings and speeches in the past.
He cited his remarks during his interface with the Parliamentary Defence Committee in 1996 – which led to his resignation from the army that was later overruled by President Museveni, — and more recently his writings while he was in exile in the UK.
Sejusa went on to call Ugandans not to beat him up for these actions, since he has already paid a big price for them.
“Don’t flog a dead horse!” he pleaded. “I am done with that enemy talk.”
He further revealed that while in exile, President Museveni even attempted to dig this dark history in Northern Uganda, to have him dragged to the International Criminal Court.
“I was in Europe for 2 years. (Museveni) sent Mbabazi then with some Acholi leaders trying to play that Crime stuff, to take me to ICC. How did it end? Europeans laughed then home! And Mbabazi? Ask him.”
During the Twitter interaction, Gen Sejusa dismissed suggestions that his fallout with Museveni and his apology were all part of political theatrics orchestrated by the President.
He wondered how a person could accept to be locked up in Military Barracks and Luzira Prison for months, all for just a political game.
Gen Sejusa added that on various occasions when he confronted President Museveni, he faced sever consequences.
“I was confined in a snowy Rwenzori Mountain prison for 5 months for opposing Museveni, which then meant sure death. I didn’t fear then,” he said, adding that to this day, his house is still surrounded 24/7 by armed me.
“Since you think it’s a game, (I) pray it comes to you. Since it’s sweet and rewarding!” he said.