December 15, 2013 (KAMPALA) - A dissident Ugandan general has sensationally claimed that long-serving Ugandan ruler Yoweri Museveni was willing to offer two million Ugandans to vote in favour of South Sudan’s independence from Sudan.
South Sudan voted to secede from Sudan in a 2011 referendum.
General David Sejusa, the former coordinator of Ugandan intelligence services and until recently a member of Uganda’s parliament, made the revelations on Saturday.
Sejusa was speaking at the London School of Economics where the new opposition group, Freedom and Unity Front (FUF), was holding its launch. The party is seeking to dislodge Museveni from power.
Segusa, who was also a member of the high command in Uganda’s military, cited Museveni’s offer to the late founding member of South Sudan’s ruling Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, John Garang, as proof of the Ugandan leader’s complicity in rigging elections.
“Museveni has no democratic credentials. He has never had them. I was with him in the bush. I have been with him for long”, he said.
Segusa alleges Museveni told Garang: “We must win this referendum at any cost”, telling the South Sudanese leader, “you know I can give you two million of my Bakiga … and you know they can fix things for us”, referring to a tribe in western Uganda in the same region where Museveni hails from.
“The idea was for him (Museveni) to have a stronghold in South Sudan. How can such a person be a democrat?” Sejusa said.
Garang reportedly fell out with Museveni after rejecting the offer, although Sejusa did not elaborate further on the rift that developed between the two leaders.
Garang died in a helicopter crash in August 2005 while returning to South Sudan from Uganda, where he had been at a meeting Museveni at his country home in western Uganda.
Bad weather was blamed for the crash, which also claimed the lives of six South Sudanese officials and seven crew aboard the Mi 72 chopper.
Segusa, who has fled to London, claims Museveni cannot be removed from office through elections.
On Saturday, the renegade general alleged that Uganda’s intelligence services 2006 altered the results of the 2006 elections, in which Museveni’s arch rival, Kiiza Besigye, won 69% of the votes, setting up a parallel vote tallying centre different from that of the official electoral commission.
Besigye challenged the results in court, with Uganda’s Supreme Court ruling that the election irregularities were “substantially enough” to affect the outcome of the elections.
Sejusa fled Uganda after writing a letter to the internal security services asking them to investigate an alleged plan to murder those opposed to ‘Project Muhoozi’ - a reference to an alleged plot by Museveni to have his son, Brigadier Muhoozi Kainerugaba, succeed him.
Brig Kainerugaba is commander of the Special Forces, which is tasked with protecting his father and Uganda’s strategic assets. He has risen rapidly through the army ranks.
The Ugandan government has in the past dismissed Sejusa as a disgruntled officer, making outrageous claims to attract international attention and possibly political asylum in the United Kingdom. Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo even alleged that Sejusa was speaking under the influence of drugs in an interview with Sudan Tribune in April.
Sejusa has not ruled the possibility of using force to unseat Museveni, with the president responding in October, “If he wants to use force, let him come. He knows my address. We have been waiting for him for some few months now”.