On September 1st 2015 the UPDF top command structures were shocked to receive a radio message from then Chief of Defense Forces, Gen. Katumba Wamala announcing the promotion to Lieutenant General and subsequent retirement of Henry Tumukunde.
The development even stunned the general public more but the cover was soon blown when Tumukunde, a former spymaster, appeared on President Yoweri Museveni’s campaign trail.
The mission manifested in November 2015 when he landed at then presidential aspirant Amama Mbabazi’s venue in Kabarole with a helicopter branded with Museveni’s pictures.
The retired general heavily specialized on identifying and neutralizing the structures of the former Prime Minister, who had served as the ruling party’s Secretary General and feared to be entrenched in National Resistance Movement.
Tumukunde revealed on Saturday that his contribution to Museveni’s last reelection was not out of political conviction to support the latter but a personal goalmouth to be relieved from the yoke of a restricted serving officer for a bigger objective beyond 2016.
His objective remained stealth for the next five years, only to be exposed by ChimpReports in an exclusive report of July 25 2019.
“I campaigned for Museveni as a condition for getting my discharge from the army, and I happily saluted out; else I wouldn’t be here,” Tumukunde said on Capital Gang.
Tumukunde said he capitalized on the political panic within the establishment, when Mbabazi declared interest for presidency, to grab Museveni’s attention to retire him. The system had for the last three elections been used to a two horse race between Museveni and another bush war hero, Dr. Kizza Besigye, since 2001.
“There was a state of panic when Mbabazi came out to context. I reached to the president and he accepted my bargain,” said Tumukunde.
Tumukunde’s revelation however contrasts accounts from some sources within the establishment that the general first built contact with Mbabazi and were expected to make a joint political move in mid-2015 but Museveni swiftly swayed him off.
It however remains clear that Mbabazi’s ambition gave Tumukunde leverage to negotiate his way out of the army and indeed Museveni rewarded him bonus of two ranks.
On March 3rd 2020 Tumukunde declared presidential bid when he stormed the Electoral Commission with the notification to carry out consultations. The development came only days after the army withdrew his military guards.