Gen. Henry Tumukunde has finally validated the nine-month speculation by declaring intentions to stand against President Yoweri Museveni in the 2021 general elections. The former spy chief, celebrated for forming the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, made the bold move on Tuesday, March 3, 2020, when he formally submitted his request for consultations to the Electoral Commission
“Whereas section 3 of the Presidential Elections Act 2005 provides that aspirant may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as a presidential candidate within twelve months before nomination, I wish to notify the Electoral Commission that I will be proceeding to carry out nationwide consultations across the country,” said Tumukunde
Gen. Tumukunde in his letter to the EC boss, justified his move as a “struggle against the forces of tyranny, oppression, and exploitation.”While this wouldn’t be the first, it is arguably his most daring stance against his commander President Yoweri Museveni.
A relative of First Lady Janet Museveni, the general is no stranger to controversy. His previous attempts to challenge the status quo attracted stiff resistance from President Museveni. On 18 April 2013, the UPDF General Court Martial sat to bring an end to the process that had lasted 8 years and summed up its deliberations. The charge of spreading harmful propaganda was dropped while the joint charge of military misconduct was upheld and Tumukunde was subsequently sentenced to a severe reprimand
.Tumukunde was on August 30th, 2015 promoted to the rank of Lieutenant General and subsequently retired from the military, something he had fought for almost a decade, in a move seen as Museveni’s reconciliation action.
Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo however, was rather dismissive of Tumukunde’s move.“It’s his right but I think (he’s) doing it more because of arrogance, false self-actualization, and perhaps as a possible business transaction,” Opondo opined.
“Generals are appointed to lead armies, so, some of them falsely believe that they can lead under whatever circumstances. Let’s see this one but I doubt, basing on available public record and opinion, that he has what it takes to lead civilians and Uganda.