It would have been a sign of reconciliation and leaving the grievances of the past, if the National Resistance Movement (NRM) and the Government of Uganda (GoU) had promoted or made an Army Commander from the Northern Regions. That would have been a message and a resounding one.
I tend to not get emotional or get attached, but there are certain things that would be significant and prove that there is no tribalism or ethnic reasons for the choices made today. Because, right now the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF) and the High Command is filled with Westerns and the ones aligned to the tribes surrounding the Presidency. That is just a mere fact and nothing can overshadow that. The same with the leadership of the Uganda Police Force (UPF). Yes, northerns has gotten plum-offices and appointed into high offices politically. However, it haven’t happened in the army and it shows.
I don’t know if Museveni hold grudges or deep resentment. This could be personal to him and he only trust his own “kind”. Even if he says he speaks ill of tribalism and sectarianism. Still, he professes to that in certain aspects of life. That’s why only certain areas has high ranking officials and has the option to be promoted into the High Command of the Army or the Ministry of Defence. It will not be someone from Lango, Acholi or the West Nile. Forget if you are from Apac or Pader for that matter. If you are from Gulu, Lira or Arua. Well, you will not get far in the army and can only be a foot-soldier. You will never reach the ranks or be in the mix for prestige. That’s beholden others by blood or by association. If not that they are coming from right areas of the West and can be pleasing to the UPDF.
That’s how it looks like… I can understand if Museveni has some distrust and lack of empathy. However, the prolonged war in the North. Has cost him and the his areas lots of damage. Yes, the UPDF was able to send Lord Resistance Army (LRA) packing and it is now in exile. However, that war happened because of the choices and the distrust between the “south” and the “north”. Which isn’t strange, as the North had the influence and the Presidency until Museveni came along. Obote and Amin was from the North and their commanders came from there as well.
Museveni has in some regards done the same. He trust his own and chosen this path. Why I am wondering now is that it’s years since peace came to the North. The threats are gone and the lives moves on. The High Command and the UPDF wouldn’t be endangered by a Northerner in the ranks. I think it would be a friendly reminder of how things has changed. That the North and the South can fight together and secure the sovereignty of the Republic. It could be the message and not only appoint northern technocrats to run Ministries or be Speakers of the House. No, give them power where it matters and allow them to deploy guns. That would have been a powerful message and been a proof of the non-sectarianism that Museveni professes too.
Alas, we know Museveni won’t budge or do this. He needs token soldiers and loyal commanders. Certainly, he has issues with it and wouldn’t give way. Some say the idea of Gen. Moses Ali is a proof that he has a broad coalition and allies in the North. Well, Gen. Moses Ali was able to get a deal and has been ally of Museveni ever since. Therefore, that isn’t the same as what I am requesting or hoping will happen.
The UPDF and the Ministry of Defence needs representation. These organizations needs to show all parts of the nation and have leaders from across the spectrum. That is needed, especially if Museveni wants to be unifying and speak with a sincere voice. Unless, he just wants to lie and only does so to please donors. I would certainly believe that and it would make sense. Actually, it would make a lot of dollars and pay of the expenditure of his State House.
I know it would be a shocker to see someone from the Great North appointed or promoted to the High Command. However, it would be a sign of goodwill and of change. That it isn’t a battle between the North and the South. No, that it’s a collective and a nation for all. Peace.