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Uganda reshuffles army as media stay closed
Saturday, May 25, 2013
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Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has reshuffled top army commanders, officials said on Friday, amid a controversial falling out among generals over whether the president’s son is to succeed him.
Army chief Aronda Nyakairima – listed in a leaked memo as allegedly opposing Museveni being succeeded by his son, Muhoozi Kainerugaba – has been shifted to a civilian post as minister of internal affairs.
Reported divisions between generals emerged earlier this month when Ugandan newspapers published a memo from a senior general, David Sejusa Tinyefuza, alleging Museveni was grooming his son to succeed him and plotting to assassinate those opposed to the plan.
Some influential generals condemned the Tinyefuza memo while a minority came out in support of him.
The army reshuffle comes as the major opposition newspapers who first alleged divisions between generals remain closed for the fifth consecutive day as police continue searching their offices.
A presidential statement called the reshuffle, which included other ministerial changes, “a minor re-organisation of the government”.
However, army spokesman Paddy Ankunda said the changes were “normal military changes”.
“It should be clear there is no in-fighting in the army,” Ankunda said, adding that Museveni “has the authority to make changes when he wishes.”
Top general Edward Katumba Wamala, who has earned praise for his command of troops fighting in the African Union force in Somalia against Islamist rebels – was named as army chief.
The Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers were shut down on Monday when police launched a search of their offices, and have continued despite a court order to leave. Two radio stations in the Monitor’s offices also remained off air.
The only major newspaper operating is the government-run New Vision.
Ruth Sebatindira, president of the Uganda Law Society, has called the ongoing searches a “serious and inexcusable affront on the rights of the media”.
The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and France-based Reporters Without Borders have both criticised the closure of the newspapers.
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