A lot of water has gone under the bridge since Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) General Edward Katumba Wamala’s role in the recent Kasese clashes raised eyebrows among legislators.
Katumba is quoted to have told the legislators that the army followed orders from Mr Museveni, after King Mumbere defied attempts to have his royal guards surrender which angered the powers that be who decided to finally fire him from his juicy job.
The latest intelligence reports gathered by seasoned Red Pepper journalist Henry Mulindwa divulge how last Thursday’s Uganda Peoples Defence Forces High Command meeting at State House Entebbe ended up being used to realign President Museveni’s Joint Chief of Staff (JCOS) Maj. Gen. Wilson Mbadi and his blue-eyed soldier, army Chief of Staff Land Forces (CoS-LF), Brig. Leopald Kyanda who are the preferred and next in line to become army commander.
Infact according to Mulindwa’s insider source, it is because of this alleged rivalry between the two generals who both worked in the elite Special Forces; that Museveni’s announcement of his former bodyguard and most trusted soldier Gen. Mbadi as Gen. Katumba’s replacement among other army reshuffles has been delayed.
It transpired that the President wanted to announce the new changes a fortnight ago but because of alleged infighting among his generals, he summoned them last week to State House and ordered them to have cohesion and work in unison.
Being Museveni’s pick for army commander, therefore means that Mbadi will have to be fast-tracked in terms of rank so that he skips the rank of Lt. General to become a four-star general and command the Ugandan military.
Why Katumba Wamala was fired
Katumba who hails from Bweeza, Kalangala District, Ssese Islands has held that position 2013.
According to the security briefing, Gen. Katumba already knows his fate and is actually likely to be the last officer born out of the regular forces to head the army. Now that SFC headed by Museveni’s son Gen. Muhoozi Kainuragaba has amassed numbers in terms of generals, the CiC Museveni wants key army posts steered by SFC-born officers. It is for this reason that Gen Katumba is allegedly being sent packing to be appointed a minister or a commander of reserve forces under African Union arrangement. Secondly, sources state that the president was shocked when intelligence reached him suggesting that CDF Wamala was eyeing a constituency in Mukono. In order to neutralize him, insiders state that one of the lethal opposition female politicians in the district was properly deployed against him to decampaign him.
When this allegation died down, Museveni again received more data suggesting that Katumba was being favored to stand in Ssese-Kalangala. To squeeze him out of this, a wealthy businessman (names withheld) dealing in construction was lined up to tussle it out with Katumba. The tycoon, was was heavily funded and Katumba’s alleged dreams were shuttered because of lack of enough money to undo that of his would be rival.
It is because of these alleged reports against Gen. Katumba that his tormentors now claim that he should be knifed as CDF because he is politically ambitious.
The Museveni – Mbadi bromance
It is claimed that Mbadi has Museveni’s ears because at one moment according to sources, some army generals plotted to oust Museveni but his Mukonjo man got wind of this plot two days before it materialized and alerted the president hence saving him from that hitherto impending power misery.
This ouster plan had been planned to base from Nakasongola. It was out of that spirit that Museveni liked Mbadi making him almost his blood brother.
“It is very possible he (Gen. Mbadi) could replace Gen. Katumba. I am not surprised that Mbadi was been Museveni’s ADC for over five years. He is someone one can rely on for any military assignment. He is a hands-on officer, reliable and revolutionary,” said an army official who preferred anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the press.
President Museveni has always groomed ADCs to take on bigger positions in the army.
The late Maj Gen Fred Rwigyema was once Museveni’s ADC during the NRA bush war before being appointed deputy army commander shortly after the guerillas seized power.
Departed former army boss, Maj Gen James Kazini, was the head of Gen Salim Saleh’s bodyguards. It was at this time that Saleh identified Kazini’s extraordinary military skills that he eventually got elevated to army commander.
Fallen ex military intelligence boss, Noble Mayombo was at one time Museveni’s ADC.
Maj Gen Wilson Mbadi was born on Jun 10 1962 in Kasese District.
He joined the Army on March 15 1986 and was commissioned in 1991 after completing a one year Officer Cadet course at Royal Military Academy Sand Hurst UK.
In the course of his service Mbadi has undertaken a number of high lever military courses that distinguish him from other senior officers.
Shortly before taking over as Museveni’s ADC following the sacking of Captain Stuart Agaba in 2007, Mbadi had just attained a Masters of Strategic Studies at Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base Alabama, USA.
Earlier in 2005, Mbadi had successfully completed a Diploma course in Strategic Studies at the University of Nairobi.
A year before, Mbadi was among the best students at the Senior Command and Staff course at Defence Staff College, Kenya. In the same year of 2004, the youthful officer completed a course in Peace Support Operations Course PSTC DSC Karen in Kenya.
He also excelled highly at the Combat Group Command Course at Armored Corps Center and School Ahmadnagar India in 2001. This course was instrumental in equipping Mbadi with skills in combat operations considering that he had attended a Company Command Course in Tanzania in 1998.
In the same year of 1998, Mbadi shone at the Mobile International Defence Management Course Lusaka, Zambia. His friends also note that the Junior Staff College Jinja in 1994 and Platoon Commander’s Course at School of Infantry, Jinja in 1992 laid a strong foundation for Mbadi’s military career.
He also left a record at Royal Military Academy Sand Hurst, UK as the best graduate at Officer Cadet training.
Apart from guarding the President and attending several military courses in foreign countries, Mbadi has held high profile appointments in the UPDF.
He was a Junior NCO Instructor at the military training school in Kabamba between 1987 and1989.
Between 1991 and 1993, Mbadi was the Officer in Charge of Career Planning before being named SO3- Personnel from 1994 to 1997.
Mbadi was subsequently promoted to the Director of Supplies, an assignment he executed for one year (1997-98) until he was promoted to the position of Brigade Logistics Officer (1999-2000.)
Eventually, Mbadi was transferred to head the Armoured Brigade as its administration Officer between 2000 and 2001.
A year later, Mbadi was appointed Directing Staff at Junior Command and Staff-Jinja, a position he served till 2002.
It is also important to note that between June and November 2000, Mbadi was 503 Brigade Operations and Training Officer and later Armoured Brigade Operations and Training Officer (2002-2003.)
He was briefly appointed Acting Brigade Commander Armoured Brigade (2004) before officially taking over as Commander of 507 Brigade 2005. Married with children, it is from this position that he was appointed Museveni’s ADC.
We have reached out to Army spokesperson Lt Col Paddy Ankunda about the latest developments but not yet got a response.
Story developing …
Compiled by Stephen Muneza Kagabo