Former Security Minister Lt Gen. Henry Tumukunde has notified the Electoral Commission of his intention to run for the Presidency come 2021.
In a March 3, 2020 letter received by the Electoral Commission, Gen Tumukunde says he intends to carry out countrywide consultations ahead of the elections in which President Museveni who has been in power since 1986 will also likely seek to extend his rule.
“Whereas Section 3 of the Presidential Elections Act 2005 provides in (1) that an aspirant may consult in preparation for his or her nomination as a presidential candidate within twelve months before the nomination date an in (2)-a; that he/she may “carry out nationwide consultations, I wish to notify the Electoral Commission that I will be proceeding to carry out consultations across the country,” reads part of the letter.
The 61-year-old General said his consultations will target various interest groups in the country, with a view of facilitating his decisions ahead of nominations of presidential candidates slated for October 2020.
“I will communicate those decisions to the EC as soon as possible, in any case, during the timeframe prescribed in the relevant laws. My consultations will also extend to the currently existing political groupings and/or political parties, security agencies and law enforcement agencies,” he added.
He said he joins other well-meaning Ugandans, to support the fundamental change which he and other guerilla fighters, including Mr Museveni, 75, promised Ugandans in the past and a peaceful transition, from one generation to another.
“While I expect all the other support that EC can offer me and my team to carry out peaceful consultations, as a presidential aspirant, I pray that the statutory mandate of the EC shall be respected by other organs of the state, and that there will be harmony throughout this important constitutional exercise,” he added.
EC spokesperson Jotham Taremwa said they would respond to Lt Gen Tumukunde’s letter accordingly.
However, government spokesperson, Mr Ofwono Opondo said Gen Tumukunde did not have what it takes to be president of Uganda.
“It’s his right but I think doing it more because of arrogance, false self-actualization, and perhaps as a possible business transaction. 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,” Mr Ofwono tweeted.
Lt Gen Tumukunde’s declaration comes just days after the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) withdrew all his military guards.
All the 10 UPDF guards attached to Lt Gen Tumukunde’s homes in Kampala, Kiruhura and Rukungiri districts were recalled on February 24, 2020 under circumstances that nobody in the army was willing to speak about.
However, a source told this publication that Lt Gen Tumukunde was stripped of his security guards after security agencies received information that he was making “plans” that did not please the establishment.
The source said with or without state security, Lt Gen Tumukunde would continue with “his plan”.
“He is not about to give up whatever plans he has,” the source said without elaborating. Outside his office in lower Kololo, which had been guarded by soldiers, the gate to his residence was closed.
Three weeks ago, Lt Gen Tumukunde was among the top army officers who praised the late Maj Gen Benon Biraaro for his boldness to speak out his mind whenever he disagreed with his superiors.
“He had the capacity to differ on principle without being rough-edged. That’s why he disagreed with President Museveni but found importance in difference without being rough,” Lt Gen Tumukunde told mourners at All Saints Cathedral Nakasero in Kampala.
He also told mourners how Maj Gen Biraaro had openly asked Mr Museveni to retire but the President did not respond to him.