By Alex Muhumuza
More details are emerging about the circumstances of the death of former Ugandan internal security minister, also a former chief of the UPDF, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima – a man of courage that opposed the project to turn Uganda into a new monarchy: of the house of Museveni. The new details reveal levels of skullduggery (with sub-plots involving poison), dishonest dealings by some of the main actors, and machinations in Uganda’s circles of power to shock even the most jaded.
The seeds of the demise of Gen. Aronda in 2015 took root back in 2009. That is when Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni started preparing an eventual showdown between Aronda and Museveni’s son Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Aronda insisted that the rapid promotion of Muhoozi would lead to loss of morale in the forces, “especially the old guard.” Gen. Aronda was of the view that Muhoozi should undergo lots of courses before any promotion.
Museveni and his son were incensed that Gen. Aronda was expressing such views – even though as chief of the Ugandan military, UPDF, Aronda was invested with the authority to make such recommendations. Aronda was only doing things in good faith, and “by the book.” But it had already put him in deep trouble. His fate would be sealed later on when he spoke out against the shadowy “Muhoozi Project” – known throughout Uganda as the plot by which the First Son is to inherit the Presidency when Museveni is gone.
Around the time Aronda was recommending Muhoozi do some serious military courses before any promotions, Leo Kyanda was Presidential Guard Brigade commander. According to knowledgeable people it was Kyanda that introduced Muhoozi to his habit of drinking and womanizing, which soon became excessive. What many do not know is that Kyanda also brought Muhoozi into drug dealing. Kyanda, a top commander in the UPDF, was also a renowned drug trafficker.
When he recruited Muhoozi into the business, Aronda was aghast, and opposed it with all his might. Aronda’s objections led to his documenting the drug dealings of the First Son, succeeding in securing the dismissal of Kyanda. But then the latter was instead moved to CMI from where he continued his partnership with the First Son. On his part Aronda continued to oppose that deadly alliance of drug trafficking.
It was lucrative side business they kept on juggling, using allies at the airport who included then Maj. Abel Kandiho, currently chief of Ugandan Military Intelligence, CMI. Kyanda and Muhoozi continued their drug dealings until the Museveni realized even his presidential jet was being used to ferry drugs! That was when he sacked Kyanda from CMI.
Aronda, however, went on fighting with Muhoozi who had proved to be a thoroughly undisciplined individual. A case in point was when the army Chief of Defense Forces was scheduled to chair an Army Council meeting in Moroto, at 10 am, but was delayed due to work related reasons. By 3 pm Aronda had not yet showed up, yet all the generals were waiting for him.
It was at this juncture that Muhoozi chose to break with military discipline, calling Aronda to complain about his lateness. Pandemonium broke loose! Aronda instructed his then deputy, Gen. Ivan Koreta to evict Muhoozi from the meeting. A sweating and flustered Koreta was frightened, however. He instead came and informed Muhoozi: “a general is never late, so never call your boss again!”
Museveni realized Aronda was a strong personality that could oppose “Muhoozi Project.” So, the ruler set in motion the machination he had been engineering against Aronda, a highly respected general within the brass and ranks of UPDF.
However, Museveni first decided to set up Muhoozi against Aronda, as a ploy to deflect attention away from the topic of Museveni’s own lengthy stay in power. Aware of the fighting between Muhoozi and Aronda, former Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi sought to use the opportunity to recruit Aronda to his side. Mbabazi reputedly had a burning ambition of his own, to become the next head of state.
Mbabazi approached Aronda and informed him about his plan to oust Museveni, and that he was fighting the Muhoozi Project together with Gen. David Tinyefuza (David Sejjusa). Aronda asked Mbabazi if his (Mbabazi’s) ambition was the reason Museveni tolerated Muhoozi’s excessive theft and law breaking. Aronda further revealed that Muhoozi had stolen over US$ 110 million from the National ID Project, and sold over 32,000 passports to conmen and Rwandan dissidents, each at over US$ 1000.
Mbabazi warned Gen. Aronda that Museveni and Muhoozi would kill him! He knew too much; and he was too outspoken! A week later Aronda learnt of an Army Council agenda that would have the question of succession on the agenda.
He shared the information with Mbabazi, who advised him that in that meeting if Museveni fronted Muhoozi, Aronda should openly be opposed. And also, that if Museveni asked others about their choices, Aronda should propose the following:
Amama Mbabazi, as this would freak all and over-annoy Janet.
Jim Muhwezi, as this would rile up Museveni, since he hates Muhwezi.
Mike Mukula, a name that would be seen as belittling Muhoozi, as Mukula is considered an unserious person, a comedian.
Kale Kayihura, whose name would create antagonism, since Kale up to then was close to Muhoozi.
The meeting did indeed happen, with the aforementioned agenda, and Gen. Tumwine immediately proposed Muhoozi. Aronda spoke out in opposition again – completely annoying Museveni – as the outspoken Aronda proposed the above names. In the course of it Muhoozi stood up angrily, but Aronda shut him down. This sparked off another spat so bad that it would prompt Gen. Tinyefuza to seek refuge in the UK.
Meanwhile, Museveni asked Aronda to write a report on his allegations about Muhoozi. The skullduggery and machinations were by then reaching boiling point. Muhoozi enlisted Kayihura’s help in hatching a plan to have someone raid Mbuya Barracks and steal from Muhoozi’s office, then blame the crime on Aronda and Mbabazi!
When Tinyefuza learnt of this malignant plot he briefed Aronda who acted quickly, taking the evidence to President Museveni. It was then that the First Son showed the true extent of his malevolence. According to inside sources, Muhoozi had the three young men used in the attempted concocted crime murdered – so that they would not reveal the secret.
The three young men, Ojakol Denis, Polycarp Kukundakwe, and Ndagijimana Stephen had worked under the direction of Maj. Albert Kashakamba, who had promised each of them Ushs 150 million upon completion of the mission.
Around that time is when they first tried to kill Aronda with poison, which was delivered by one Mutesi Rachel. But the army chief was lucky: Amama Mbabazi quickly gave him an antidote. The battle lines were drawn.
Muhoozi went into overdrive looking for ways to eliminate his nemesis. Gen. Muhoozi reportedly acquired the services of two assassins: Katungi Michael and his close pal, a Janet Anyine, who was said to be having an affair with Gen. Aronda.
Muhoozi met Janet Anyine and delivered poison to her, in addition to promising her a job in State House where salaries are astronomical. Anyine reportedly was so deep in her extra-marital affair with Gen. Aronda that at the time of his death in September 2015, she was pregnant with his daughter. Janet was able to deliver poison to him from her bedroom – after Aronda visited her, shortly before he traveled to Korea. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima would die of a poison-induced heart failure on a flight from South Korea.
Muhoozi made good on his promise to Anyine, rewarding her with a job as deputy ES0 boss in Kampala, while her colleague Katungi was appointed deputy ambassador to Nigeria – rewards for a job well done ending Aronda’s life.