Former Security Minister Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde has announced he will be employing a different kind of strategy, that he hopes will at last dislodge President Yoweri Museveni.
Gen Tumukunde this week announced intentions to run against President Yoweri Museveni, a move that had been anticipated for months.
His announcement was quickly downplayed by the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) and several political analysts, with some projecting that he might not manage a single percentage point in the polls.
But while speaking publicly for the first time about his presidential bid on Thursday, Gen Tumukunde said he will be employing and uncharacteristic plan that will catch the establishment off guard.
Likening himself to former Burundian leader Melchior Ndadaye who handed a surprise defeat to President Pierre Buyoya in 1993, Tumukunde said his mobilization tricks will be unlike what Ugandans have seen before.
“Ndadaye defeated (Buyoya) using different techniques; a very underground operation. We cannot continue to use all the known and all the understood and anticipated,” he said,” Tumukunde said while appearing on NBS.
Regarding his anticipated reaction of the armed forces to his candidature, Tumukunde said he expects little or no resistance.
Unlike other presidential candidates that have suffered at the hand of the armed forces, he said, he has a different relationship with the men in uniform.
“The difference between me and others, most of these (soldiers) I recruited. Those I didn’t recruit I trained, if I didn’t train, I worked with them,” he said.
The former Head of Military Intelligence and 4th Division Commander, says he even expects a lot of support from the army itself during election.
Many UPDF soldiers, Tumukunde said, do not necessarily support President Yoweri Museveni and that some even campaign for opposition candidates inside the barracks.
“Have you been to Gulu Barracks? I was the division commander there during elections,” he said.
“There was a campaign group of women in Gulu Barracks; a very big effort and it was doing well. These women during the day they would be saying, this man, this man and at night they come and say this man, this man.”
“When I met them they said no, no; if it were you, yes, but for us we are not going to vote that direction.”
According to Tumukunde, many members of the armed forces are not happy with what is happening.
“They have tried to do as much as they could. They are fighting in harsh circumstances. I was their commander. No food no nothing. Our job is simply to tell them not to be disruptive.”
Gen Tumukunde during the interview, also echoed recent sentiments by former army commander Gen Mugisha Muntu, who during the funeral of Gen Benon Biraaro, criticised President Museveni for often referring to the UPDF as his army.
“I am here, Lt. Gen. Henry Tumukunde. Why should I be somebody’s army? Having been to Makerere; a law graduate, and I went to the bush; I lost a leg and my biggest credential is that I am called somebody’s army? That is abusive.”
Regarding the UPDF’s recent decision to withdraw all his guards, Gen Tumukunde sounded unfazed, saying even President Museveni at one point was unguarded.
“Museveni, at one stage in his life, when he had left Ministry of regional cooperation, had one escort who was also his driver. He was called Fred Rwigyema,” Tumukunde said.
“That hasn’t stopped him from having a division guarding him now. Afa nga atambula, amagulu tegamugaya.”