At least 14 Generals including National Resistance Army (NRM bus war heroes were among some 604 senior and junior officers wo were retired from the Ugandan army- the UPDF.
“The retirement ceremony of the generals will be held at State House Entebbe whereas the other retirees will be in their respective service headquarters, formations and units,” the UPDF spokesperson, Brig Flavia Byekwaso said in a statement.
“The Ministry of Defence and UPDF recognize their commitment, sacrifice, selflessness and dedication to offering security service to the country at a time where many shunned joining the liberation struggle in favour of maintain the status quo.”
Among those who were retired are long serving NRA historicals Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa and Maj Gen Robert Rusoke. President Yoweri Museveni, the commander in chief of the armed forces l presided over the colorful send-off ceremony which was held at State House, Entebbe. The most senior by rank is Gen Ivan Koreta. The 65-year-old four-star Gen Koreta joined armed forces in 1981 when Museveni and the group picked up guns to fight Dr Milton Obote’s government.
Gen Koreta trained as a soldier in Mozambique as a member of Front for National Salvation which was then a rebel group formed to topple off the leadership of President Idi Amin accusing him of being a dictator.
The second-highest-ranking retired officers include three star Generals Lt Gen Pecos Onesmus Kuteesa and Lt Gen Jim Besigye Owoyesigyire. Lt Gen Kuteesa’s military service stretches way back to 1976 when he became a member of FRONASA which was another group formed to fight President Idi Amin.
Kuteesa joined FRONASA after completing S6 and was trained at Munduli military academy in Tanzania. After Amin was overthrown, Kuteesa was deployed to command Nakasongola military schools which he later deserted to join the NRA of Museveni to fight Dr Milton Obote government. Kuteesa once served as Museveni’s ADC and a member of parliament representing the Army.
Kuteesa was in 1994 voted to a member of the Constituent Assembly representing Kabula and the group was responsible for the establishment of the current Uganda Constitution 1995 even though it has severally been amended.
Lt Gen Jim Besigye Owoyesigyire was commander of AMISOM, a peacekeeping force in Somalia. Owoyesigyire also joined the armed forces in 1979 and his 42 years’ career has seen him serve in key military positions such as commander Air Force between 2005 and 2012, he had earlier served as a division commander for Field Artillery and was served as chairperson of a committee that shows the establishment of National Defence College, in addition to representing the Army in parliament between 2011 and 2016.
The retirees also include two-star Generals, Maj Gen Christopher Kazoora Murema, Maj Gen Moses Wadimba Ssentongo, Maj Gen Robert Rusoke and Maj Gen Innocent George Oula. Rusoke is the current overall supervisor of the Covid-19 joint security task force.
The one-star Generals who have also been retired include Brig-Gen Moses Kigongo, Brig-Gen Jacob Asiimwe, Brig-Gen Moses Shaban Lukyamuzi, Brig-Gen Muhammed Abiriga, Brig Gen John Araali Kasaija and Brig Gen Frank Kanyarutokye.
The retirement process
The UPDF Conditions and Terms of Service provide that it’s illegal to keep army officers in active service once they clock a certain age but are not promoted to the next rank.
For example, it’s illegal to have an officer at the rank of captain or major, aged 50, in active service.
At the age of 40, if a captain is not promoted to major, the army must retire the officer.
Regulation 28, Cap 307 of the terms of service specifies at which age an officer should be promoted to another rank if not be retired from the service but according to army sources, the UPDF continues to flout section of its own regulations.
From the rank of Lieutenant to Captain, one can apply for early retirement at 40 years, while a Major can leave service at 45.
A Lieutenant Colonel in the UPDF can retire at 47, while a Colonel’s retirement age is 51.
From the rank of 2nd Lieutenant to General, an officer can rightly apply for retirement after 14 years of service, while the lower ranks can retire after nine years.