Friday, March 26, 2010
Draru's case may need an International Court to handle
The testimony that sealed Kazini's fate
On September 22, 2005, The Weekly Observer exclusively published excerpts of a testimony by now jailed MAJ. GEN. JAMES BUNANUKYE KAZINI to the committee investigating ghost soldiers. To understand his three-year prison sentence handed out last week by Court Martial chairman LT. GEN. IVAN KORETA, one needs to read Kazini’s testimony again. Below we reproduce a slightly edited version.
COMMITTEE: We would like your particulars on record, army number, name, appointment and the various offices you have held in the recent past as an introduction.
KAZINI: I am Maj. Gen. James Kazini. RO 1331, served in various capacities in UPDF. I begin with NRA as a regular army. I was a CO (Commanding Officer) of 14 Bn, I will not mention the period, and then I was CO 1 Bn (battalion), then Bde (brigade) commander 301. Then I was camp commandant GHQs (General Headquarters), commandant Military Police, armoured battalion CO at that time – CO mechanised regiment.
After that I was Operation Commander West Nile in Koboko. From there, I became second in command of 4 Division, then later (1996) the Division CO; after 4 Div I became the army (Chief of Staff) COS - 1998. During my tenure as COS, I was overseer of operations in DRC (Operation Safe Haven) and overseer of operations against ADF, two roles. Then I became the acting Army Commander (November 4, 2001).
COMMITTEE: We would like to hear from you the role of Army Commander and Chief of Staff in strength management and passing of financial claims?
KAZINI: When I became the Chief of Staff (COS)… first of all, there was no correct handover and take over. I just inherited a stamp from Chefe Ali. When I was appointed, I came to Bombo. I only found his ADC, Lt. Nuwe [Kyepaka], who was seated on his desk. He said, ‘Welcome the new COS, here is the stamp’. I got the stamp, went and sat in the chair and started working. No handover report.
The duties, which I found were actually rubber-stamping documents, flow of documents, purchases, procurement, vouchers. There is what is called a punched ladder, where documents come in, we don’t know their source of origin but you would see the vote holders’ signature, they just endorse to the PS [Permanent Secretary].
It took me time to understand because I was endorsing things I didn’t know about; uniforms, dry rations, fuel, etc. Then when these documents go to the PS that ladder… those vouchers, you are the COS, you just sign without even knowing the background of what is on the vote.
As time went on, I started asking myself even at that time, the question of paying soldiers was not the business of the COS.
COMMITTEE: What reasons can you give this Committee why Afande Chefe Ali did not hand over?
KAZINI: I don’t know. The culture of handover was not there in UPDF.
COMMITTEE: The genesis of ghosts in UPDF to your knowledge, the background how the whole thing started and whom you think the main actors and main weaknesses are?
KAZINI: I want to tell the chair that they should understand the word ghosts and balances. These are two different things, which you need to understand. I think ghosts originated from balances. It begins in a given financial year; let’s say financial year 2004-2005. I have a document here, which I have brought as a case study for May this
year (2003), how much money was verified and paid out to soldiers and how much money came out of the Treasury, which left behind a balance of 1.9 billion shillings officially.
COMMITTEE: What you are saying is that because names are not declared, whether deserters or dead, the Treasury keeps remitting money every month which is known?
COMMITTEE: By whom?
KAZINI: By the Director of Finance and Permanent Secretary. Now the Chief of Staff and Army Commander are aside. We don’t know that.
COMMITTEE: PS knows it?
KAZINI: Yes, Director of Finance and Principal Accountant.
COMMITTEE: Those know?
KAZINI: Very well.
COMMITTEE: That this money that has come from the Treasury has no owner?
KAZINI: Yes. It remains here and it’s put on what they call below the line account.
COMMITTEE: Even before money goes to the Division or Bde to be eaten, already there is money here at the HQ which is known and you are giving an example that in May alone Shs 1.9 billion was availed officially, which was put on what account?
KAZINI: Below the line account. This money comes here and is deducted officially from the Treasury bill. Looking at the documents, the amount of money released from Treasury in May was Shs 10.6 billion. Then the balance of Shs 1.9 billion. Yes, and it’s deducted every month, official balance; that is what I am saying. Yes, this is a paper on ghosts. What I meant is that big balance of the so-called ghosts remains here. That is what I call the official balance. There are these other small balances which people (field commanders) buy time (with); [saying] after all if we submit this one it’s going to remain at the HQ and be eaten. Let me also remain with this one until the financial year ends.
COMMITTEE: Does that mean that the people at the HQ actually have the list of the dead, AWOL and deserters they already know?
KAZINI: They do! It arises because we know the verified strength, they have already verified the strength, there are the dead, AWOL (Away Without Official Leave), and deserters. So instead of telling the Treasury, the wage bill should be cut by this amount this month, they don’t do it because it’s internal.
COMMITTEE: So you are sure there are ghosts?
KAZINI: Yes. For sure there are ghosts in the army but controlled now. There is the official and unofficial (in other words at the MOD HQs and in units).
COMMITTEE: Why are some people saying that you are the one who encouraged ghosts?
KAZINI: I don’t know. I don’t think I was encouraging ghosts. It’s me and it’s on record in message books [who] started this question of fighting ghosts. I am the third [fourth?] AC (Army Commander). There was Afande [Elly] Tumwine, [Salim] Saleh, Gen. [Mugisha] Muntu, and [Jeje] Odongo… all these things were there. Whether they were sleeping, who knows? So absurd to say it’s me. May be I got into people’s ways of …
COMMITTEE: We would like you to tell us who created ghosts in 4 Division to your knowledge.
KAZINI: You see we discovered there are ghosts, no army in 4 Division at the time. We made a report to the C-I-C through the AC at that time and he brought somebody called Nakayenga. They found ghosts in 1996, and you remember one paymaster (Lt. Osele) killed himself because he was cornered. He was sending Shs 400m to the Director of Finance, Maj. Bright Rwamirama, at that time every month, even more.
We found that the army was not on ground and we scaled down. There was merging of units. It’s on record. Merged including Brigades, scaled down because the army was not on ground. 405 Bde was deleted from the books at that time under Lt. Col. Dradiga…At that time we didn’t know how many Bdes were supposed to be in UPDF and how many Bdes were cut off because by the time I became COS, by establishment we could see only Bde formations 501 and 503; the rest could appear as battalion formations without Bde. They were there but few.
The parade was supposed to be done at Chwero of Nakayenga. They went there, they didn’t find soldiers. Then when they were going to fly out, Dradiga threatened to shoot an RPG [at the] helicopter of Nakayenga. We had to intervene with mambas. He didn’t fire at it but threatened and when the woman came, she went to the C-I-C and said she has given up the work, can’t continue because she is going to lose her life.
COMMITTEE: You remember a Capt. Byakutaga ran away with money for our troops in Operation Safe Haven?
KAZINI. It’s on record that it’s me actually who sent a message looking for him because soldiers in Basankusu were complaining about non-payment for a month. I sent a message and they said he had taken the Arua route bringing the money. So we waited and he never appeared. That is another case, he just ran away with the money. Hopefully, he will appear one day and say he was leaving GHQs for pay in the very eyes of the acting Chief of Staff at that time, Brig. Kashaka. So it really disturbs me how one could withdraw Shs 1.3 billion in cash and is not given security.
COMMITTEE: Maj. Bush would antagonise the Chief of Logistics and Engineering (Brig. Oketa) allegedly on your orders, and Maj. Nuwe in Military Police [antagonised Lt. Col. Dick Bujingo]?
KAZINI: Maj. Bush has been OC POL [officer in charge of petrol, oils and lubricants] in that department since the beginning of this army… It was not me who deployed him, it was COS. I was in Gulu. I found that those who had come from Egypt had been deployed. But to say that I was using him to abuse Oketa… actually that was an abuse to me.
I never sent Bush to abuse Oketa. Oketa said many things, as you know, and he is the one saying that he is the one who removed me from the army command as I am talking now. It’s not correct.
First of all, I came with CLE [Chief of Logistics and Engineering], we came at the same time, me as COS, Oketa as CLE. This is a kind of conflict. What Brig. Oketa was aiming at was different. I can explain a few things.
What he wanted [to say] actually was that I was interfering in his work because I was implementing the President’s directives. The President said that let the army get out of procurement, and contract with civilian organisations like Total, Shell and all that, it should be MOD [Ministry of Defence]. That was what I was implementing.
Whenever I would not be here, he [Oketa] would bulldoze these undersecretaries around, threaten to box them. They are here; ask Madam Byengoma, Kakooza, etc. He would tell them that he is a fighter – but we are the ones who captured Oketa in Masaka – that I have brought German dogs in Gulu to guard me against him. Whenever I would be here, he would not bulldoze the ministry. Maj. Nuwe became an OPTO (in charge of training and operations of Military Police) after his course in Egypt. There is not even a single day that I had given him orders to undermine his commanding officer (Lt. Col. Dick Bujingo). No. Maj. Nuwe is there and you know Military Police, what work do they do apart from guarding a few soldiers here in Bombo and escorting Bank of Uganda money?
COMMITTEE: There have been allegations that you promoted a particular type of people, like Lt. Col. Segamwenge, Lt. Col. Mawa [Muhindo], Lt. Col. L’Okech, Maj. Nuwe [Kyepaka]?
KAZINI: The power of promotion is vested in the C-I-C [Commander-in-Chief]. People were promoted by the C-I-C because they excelled in operational performance. Actually, what I was doing, I was saying this one has done that, this one has done this, so he does that. That one I think the C-I-C had those powers.
Now, when it comes to jumping ranks, so many people had jumped ranks, now about Afande Muntu [Mugisha], he was a colonel and he became a major general. How about Jeje Odongo, why don’t you include them on the list?
COMMITTEE: The question is because those ones were promoted by the C-I-C directly.
KAZINI: Even these ones were promoted by C-I-C. There are messages that promoted Segamwenge, Mawa, L’Okech and Nuwe directly without referring to the promotions board.
COMMITTEE: Some people are complaining that you lied to H.E. about those people, they have never performed?
KAZINI: If I lied, then that one I accept. If the President can be lied to then… but why should I lie to my C-I-C, first of all I am a soldier. I took an oath, why should I tell lies to mislead him? Then those people who are saying that I am telling lies should give facts, we shall listen to them.
COMMITTEE: Why do you think such a thing (promotions) should have prompted protests?
KAZINI: They complained, then later on 1,300 officers were promoted randomly, even those who were dead. The C-I-C was made to sign an administrative order promoting people, even those who died. Was that justified? When we promoted 1,300 people randomly before elections!
Because of lack of records, a list was taken even as people had disappeared, others had gone to Rwanda, why don’t you talk about those? Just a few of those like L’Okech who did well in Congo!
Because really to complain about these four people, really we promoted many and you don’t even comment on that mistake that was made of random promotion, these fake service numbers, fake names, the list is there, it can be verified. Whether those people had done courses, how were they promoted by the so-called Commissions’ Board at that time, who chaired it?
COMMITTEE: The Bihanga recruitment. 7,000 recruits were crammed into a place which allegedly was inadequate and poorly facilitated?
KAZINI: We have trained that number before in Bihanga. Secondly, the situation in
Ituri warranted us to train them there. So we wanted quick recruitment elsewhere in the west to reinforce Ituri if you [know what] was happening at that time. So there was no peculiar motive. It was purely based on the situation as it was at that time.
You see a big majority of UPDF come from irregular forces (LDUs). So there is nobody who can [claim] that the Bihanga forces training was shoddy when you know that 70% of the UPDF originated from LDUs.
COMMITTEE: Why was there friction between you and Chief of Training (COT) Col. Muhesi over this Bihanga issue, and Col. Potel Kivuna?
KAZINI: The problem I think arose from supplies. Everybody here knows that when you have a training wing you don’t supply; so they thought that now it’s Potel going to do the supply, of course helping me, like that.
So we denied the COT a chance.
So the conflict was that I was denying him that chance. He even came to me saying, you know your sister came to me. There is this chance we are going to train. I told him, Muhesi don’t tell me this - you know he is married to my cousin sister – that your sister is now going to have milk because we are going to have training.
I said, me I know how to make my money, [but] not from that line. That is the whole problem, not congestion. Saying that my sister is now going to get milk…
COMMITTEE: So Inspector General of Military Equipment (IGME) does not know how many guns he has?
KAZINI: Yes, returns. I started it one time as AC for these big ones and the weapons which were not working. He failed because he had no database. So we were telling commanders that when you are sending nominal rolls, put the serial numbers of the weapons, it was never done.
COMMITTEE: So really you do not know where these guns are?
COMMITTEE: And what you are saying is that commanders can deploy them as and when they want?
COMMITTEE: Without central counter?
KAZINI: Yes. A gun is supposed to have a Bn (battalion) number and a serial number recorded. With us it is not the case, we just give out guns like that. For example, all those guns given to the Arrow Group, they were just from stores anywhere and given.
COMMITTEE: But then, how do you run the army? By magic or what?
KAZINI: You know we have been running the Army because of the good politics of the President. Because that is how LDUs come in. You get surprised, where is the army? AC, Fanya LDUs hapa, andika document fanya Bunyoro/Buganda LDU. Like that. The army has been surviving on the goodwill of the President and his good politics. Fanya hii, fanya hii. Standing army, where is it?
Even you remember when the RPAs went, they deserted about 4,000 people, and we were all here. Nobody said let us verify strength… these people have gone, they should be counted AWOL (Absent without official leave), then their numbers will be known. Can anybody tell us how many RPAs left the army?
It is just an imagined number from the press. But you know really somebody would have said no, I think they have escaped, here are their names. There is no record of the RPA who escaped. We would have it in data. Kalekezi, Kagame, somebody, nobody had it.
COMMITTEE: Interpersonal conflicts, first of all are they there?
KAZINI: No, they are not there. It is just undermining authority that is there. Because I did not make myself the COS [Chief of Staff]. These people would go around saying but who made this Kazini the COS, hii mtu hakukuwa porini….[this man did not even fight in the bush] Mambo kama hiyo [stuff like that]. After that AC…. Huyo hana shida [he has no problem] with the C-I-C, the appointing authority. That me I did not go to school.
That is up to the C-I-C. The knowledge I have, maybe he appreciated it. That is why he gave me that appointment. So it is something like that. To me, it is not conflict, it is just undermining authority.
COMMITTEE: During your leadership, you had problems with Col. Muhesi, Brig. Oketa, Brig. Tumukunde, Col. Burundi, among others, and your reasons for that perception?
KAZINI: There were others. Now that you have mentioned some of them, you should also mention others (Col. Angina, Col. Muzoora, Maj. Mutengesa, Lt. Col. Dick Bugingo).
Let me start with Brig. Tumukunde. You know very well Tumukunde was the Chief of Personnel and Administration (CPA). When Afande Saleh came to Gulu as the overseer, Tumukunde said that it was me who had asked the President to bring Afande Saleh, and yet the whole AC would be the one to come there.
He went to the President and said that may be Afande Saleh’s people are not working in the GHQs. Then whenever I would say something, Tumukunde would intervene. When he (Tumukunde) became Chief of Military Intelligence (CMI), I happened to be the COS. The AC then, Afande Jeje [Odongo], mandated me to go and preside over the handover/takeover as COS.
I went there and sat with the C/Comdt [Camp Commandant], he refused to come, that he does not recognise me as COS. Me what I did was to tell the person taking over to continue with work.
From CMI he became the 4th Div CO [Commanding Officer]. He commanded the Division well and then he made a lot of changes there, and the balances, he landed on it, he handled it the way he wanted. We did not care about that one.
But the worst strong point came when he planned an operation to go and attack Kony in Sudan at Lubanga Tek, which later on failed. I was not told anything, I was here as the COS. It was between him (Tumukunde), the AC then, and the President.
They went and marshalled forces, organised, I did not know anything…
The President is the one who told us there is a mission going to happen there, me I was just hearing like news.
So what Tumukunde did; he went, flagged off the forces, and he flew to America. I was not monitoring anything. It was the President who knew that the operational commander was not there. Then he called off the forces because they did not have food, they had got tired. It is a long journey…
It was Oketa to command the operation after he had given all the confidence that he would succeed. They had reached almost 10km to the target but Mzee [President Museveni] was given information, I think from intelligence. Out of the force, I think they were 1,500, 500 were already on stretchers. This is the information I got much later.
Then he said stop, and come back. Tumukunde, I understand, was in the USA. For him
he said: Aaah, this is Kazini now, who has undermined my work, my operation.
He met me here in corridors and told me, and I said, ‘I did not know about your operation, Tumukunde’. I was taken by surprise to read the message of H.E the President stopping the operation but I did not know really about the operation.
I would have supported it, I did not want it to end. But for him he took it that I had sabotaged it. Only to find out the operation commanders he had sent; Rwandese and other people, they got stuck on the way, food could not reach. It was a rainy season, between the border and that place you can’t take less than seven days… everything was stuck on the way. Okay those things happen. So that is another matter.
Things continued like that. One time, he was saying that when I was made the COS, I came with the following people; he used to talk about it openly. Lt. Col. Mugenyi Phenehas to be CPA, Obwoya Fearless to be CLE, like that, like that. He said that first of all, I took Afande Saleh to the North [to] manufacture a coup d’etat… That is Tumukunde, Sir.
I said, Tumukunde, why are you making up all that? And when I was COS, he [Tumukunde] never appeared in my office, to call him on phone, he refused. I looked for a way to arrest him but I couldn’t because as I told you the COS is not empowered to do anything like that.
It continued, then lastly there was an eviction of people from houses in town.
This was H.E.’s directive. He said that people who are living in houses of Indians, go and convince them to get out of people’s houses; when they refuse and there is an eviction letter, you should take them out.
It happened that Tumukunde’s sister had a house in Kololo. Me, I did not know. When that thing happened, Tumukunde knew that I had specifically tasked Military Police to evict his sister from the house.
I told Tumukunde that I didn’t know of it. If he had rang me, that eviction I would have stopped until he sorted it out. So that is undermining of authority, it is not a problem concerning cohesion in the army.
When he was handing over CMI [Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence] to Mayombo, I was there. The AC mandated me, you go, and see the handover. You know what he said?
“I know you have followed me again, now I am going to Gulu, I do not think Gulu will be my last office, because you are still behind me” – at the handover ceremony! So that is Tumukunde.