KAMPALA — President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has removed Maj.General Abel Kandiho from his position as head of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).
Gen. Kandiho has been replaced by Maj Gen James Biriungi.
Military sources have confirmed to this website that Rwandan President Paul Kagame demanded that President Museveni fires his top security chiefs, including Kandiho as part of the conditions for normalizing relations between the two countries.
He was replaced three days after President’s son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the Land Forces Commander, returned from Rwanda where he held a closed-door meeting with President Paul Kagame. The details of the meeting were not made public but Lt Gen Muhoozi reached unity between the two brotherly nations.
“I have been alive long enough to know that Uganda and Rwanda are one country! In exile in the 1980s, Me and my family were also called ‘Rwandans’. Only enemies would fight for our unity. Let us resolve these small problems quickly and move forward together as always,” Lt Gen Muhoozi sent out a tweet with a photo with his “uncle” Paul Kagame.
While it’s unclear whether the decision to drop Maj Gen Kandiho was in any way requested by president Kagame as MPs and other analysts claim, the army spokesperson, Lt Col Ronald Kakurungu, explained in a statement that: “This is one of the routine transfers and reassignments and in the line with the prerogative of the commander-in-chief to transfer, assign and appoint officers of the UPDF in areas where he deems them fit to serve from time to time.”
Military sources say, President Kagame also urged Uganda to “refrain from all actions intended to destabilize Rwanda; eliminate all factors that create such perception; withdraw the passports issued by the Ugandan government to RNC’s head of diplomacy, Charlotte Mukankusi and prevent her from traveling to Uganda.”
The Commander Land Forces in the UPDF, Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba who held talks with the Rwandan President confirmed Kandiho sacking in Tweet.
“I congratulate both Maj. General Abel Kandiho and Maj.General James Birungi on their new appointments. Hongera sana,”Lt Gen Muhooizi tweeted.
Reports indicate that Kandiho who is facing US sanctions has been sent to monitor on behalf of the guarantors, the assembling, screening, demobilization, and integration of the armed forces of South Sudan.
The U.S. Treasury Department says that as commander of CMI Kandiho and other CMI officers targeted individuals due to their nationality, political views, or criticism of the Ugandan government.
It says individuals were taken into custody and held, often without legal proceedings, at CMI detention facilities where they were subjected to horrific beatings and other egregious acts by CMI officials, including sexual abuse and electrocutions, often resulting in significant long-term injury and even death.
The US says in some cases, Kandiho was personally involved, leading interrogations of detained individuals.
After Uganda’s general elections in January, many young men who had previously been reported missing reappeared, detailing horrid tales of torture by security members.
In August, while addressing the nation, President Yoweri Museveni blamed the torture on acts by individual officers and the failure of senior commanders to instruct junior officers on what should and shouldn’t be done.
Museveni promised to eliminate such torture and use the law to uproot the culture of reactionary behavior in the armed forces, though no action on this front has been evident.