General David Sejusa’s BBC’s interview. Well aware that many people might not be in position to listen to it, I have over the past 45min listened to the 5:03-minute long clip and produced a verbatim. No changes have been made to any words that were enunciated. Interviewer: Paul Bakibinga. The four-star general starts speaking at the very beginning of the clip.

_68247696_68247695“This project should not be a personal…it should be taken away from the son. Really the son is a tiny factor. The central issue, is a political monarchy; a life presidency and then, transiting in a political monarchy…you know (Bakibinga tries to interject: Is that what you are accusing…?) really terribly, terribly…common African story. There’s nothing strange about it. So people should not seem as if they are hearing this for the first time.; they are scattered everywhere. Once a system is decarded and perverse, and a person who has been in power for 30 years, they start playing God. (Bakibinga: But, but you’ve been part of that system for nearly as long…during those 30 years?) Yes I have, I have. But you see, this is the point, this is the point of saying enough is enough because you see, in a system like that, you are never allowed to leave because you are virtually a captive. If you follow my history, I’ve tried many times to leave. I have stood up to this system. In 1994. Because of the subversive nature of this president, he undermined all that process. (Bakibinga: But yeah but why wouldn’t he want officers to retire?) He can’t, because he uses the military, he uses the military as an institution, which is not ordinarily used as a prison; nobody would suspect it. It’s very difficult to get unless you are there. This is a new…(Bakibinga interjects: But his ambition was to professionalize the army, isn’t this part of it?) No, no, no. You see this is…this is the tragedy of it. But what happens is that once you are in the military and you think you have the capacity to be anything else, you are NEVER, released from the military. So, we have a situation where you have everybody going in, nobody goes out; assimilation without rejection, it’s a very dangerous process. So, we are clogged up with old men, we are clogged up with people who are not useful…Uganda is a country where we have something called “AKATEBE”. ‘Akatebe’ means, sitting on a chair with no job but being paid for it. And why? So that you are kept there, contained by military law. So, he’s using it for political purposes, he’s using it as a political weapon. Like he is using other institutions which he has destroyed…like parliament. Parliament is supposed to stand out and make sure he is accountable to the people. But he has subdued the parliament, it does not matter how he perpetuates himself, whether through himself or his son…(Bakibinga: But the government has denied this)…he hasn’t denied it, he hasn’t come up. Since all this debate came up, he hasn’t come up to say, ‘this a lie’. (Bakibinga: But basically, so you are implying that there’s very little room for change in the country?) I don’t see it. We’ve tried it for the last 27 years almost 30 years, but every safeguard we put in is subverted. We are beginning to have a new narrative in the country. We are beginning to discuss other options, if need be…(Bakibinga: What other options…what other solutions?) No, no, before I come to the options because you see, what are the dangers? Because the options must come from the dangers we are facing as a country. If you look at even Uganda as it is, because of the corruption and so on, you hear about the economy and so on, our middle-class is so tiny. They say private sector is the engine of growth…there’s nothing; because of the corruption and so on, there’s no job creation, agriculture which employs 89% of the population, it gets maybe 4%. (Bakibinga: You’ve laid out a litany of problems (yes) in the country but some government officials are saying you are someone who is disgruntled because you have presidential ambitions) Yeah, but…how many times have I enumerated when I have stood up to Mister Museveni? If they can, my presidential ambitions, if they can stop Mr. Museveni and his unconstitutional project, so be it. I have no regrets for that. And in the case, really, seriously speaking, a general, a four star general…(Bakibinga: So you are not ruling it out?)…why should I? A four star general without ambitions? You must be in the wrong place. Who gave Mister Museveni the right to rule over us forever? (Bakibinga retorts: Well he argues he has got mandate from the people…he’s had so…) How many presidents have you heard who have been impeached in the middle of their presidency? That we must live with him…(Bakibinga interrupts that line: But let’s say, if if the situation is not conducive for elections, then what is the solution?) The solution is simple. What do you do with dictators? That’s the unfortunate bit. (A somewhat concerned Bakibinga: There’s a fear of taking Uganda back to what people went through back years ago) No, no, no, no, no. We were very clear, our Constitution Article 3 first of all…Article 1 says Uganda belongs to all of us…to all the people. That’s very, very fundamental article. Now ANYONE, who subverts that must be removed. But Article 3 says, ANYONE who abrogates, subverts or in any ways threatens this constitution should be resisted using all means…ALL means. Necessary.” END.

Verbatim compiled by me, Songa Samuel-Stone. Adapted from the clip here:

*Government spokesperson Ofwono Opondo in a post-Sejusa interview interview called upon the general to return “if he’s not a coward”. But if he resorts to any “unconstitutional” ways, he added, “We shall deal with General Sejusa just like we have dealt with others like him.”

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