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Behind Brig Deus Sande’s outbursts

President Museveni with Sande (2nd R), Elwelu. Gen Muhoozi is on Museveni’s Left.

The making of another UPDF ‘loud-mouth’

Kampala, Uganda | Mubatsi Asinja Habati | There appears to be something cocky about soldiers in the UPDF when they are at the rank of brigadier. Many Ugandans are familiar with names like Brig. Kasirye Gwanga, Brig. Henry Tumukunde, Brig.Noble Mayombo, Brig. Shaban Bantariza, Brig. James Kazini and many others.

Many of these officers were promoted to higher ranks and some are deceased. But the commonality among them is the levels of fame or notoriety they gained when they were at the rank of brigadier. Often, it was because of their “loud mouths.”

The latest one to join the list is Brig. Deus Sande, commandant of the UPDF’s Armoured Warfare Training School, in the UPDF’s Masaka Armoured Brigade.

In a widely circulated video, Sande addresses a gathering of top business people in Masaka. In the most quoted part of the clip, he says: “As long as we are still here, we are not ready to give out power to ideologically bankrupt people. We cannot give away Ugandans. We cannot spoil what we struggled for many years ago.  We are not ready. Do you think we are planning a handover? No. We are planning for consolidation of what we struggled for. ….It is up to the young generation to decide where they want to take Uganda but they should know that the Uganda they live in is not what it was many years ago. Uganda should not go the Somali way.”

Makerere University political history lecturer, Mwambutsya Ndebesa warns Ugandans not to ever take statements regarding not handing over presidential power to opposition politicians from the politicians and the army officers lightly.

“That is not a light statement and we should not underestimate them.  First of all the army legally speaking are not supposed to make such a statement because they are supposed to be non-partisan. For politicians that is treasonable. Legal aspects notwithstanding, it implies the country is facing a very serious risk.  I don’t think this is the attitude of securing our future,” says Ndebesa. He argues that the culture of militarism poses a serious risk to Uganda’s peace and stability.

History they say keeps repeating itself. In 2001 when Kizza Besigye emerged to challenge the government of Yoweri Museveni, senior army officers like Henry Tumukunde came out to make statements that the army would not hand over power to Besigye. But recently while appearing on NBS television he was dismissing Brig Sande’s statements as empty talk.

Brig. Sande’s mixture of braggadocio and ultra-patriotism have caused some in the UPDF to attempt to diffuse them.

The deputy UPDF spokesperson Lt. Col Deo Akiiki says comments made by Brig. Sande do not in any way represent the army position but him as an individual.

“Quote Sande as Sande, Army positions are communicated by the army spokesperson, it’s that simple,” said Lt. Col Akiiki.

The utterances have also sparked comments from ordinary Ugandans; mainly online.

“People must take pity with &not condemn folks like Brig. Sande Deus. These folks came from the bush with PTSD & were catapulted to public duty without treatment. In Brig. Deus’ case, he was sent to fight in Somalia as well. They need help. The problem is they live in denial,” said lawyer and political commentator Nicholas Opiyo on Twitter.

“I just watched Brig. Sande Deus make these remarks and the message perturbed me and why such a high ranking officer would make such a statement at this critical moment,” said Ugaman also on Twitter.

That is the important question. Why do these brigadiers make such statements?

Frustrated man

Simple analysis shows that it could be down to anxiety and restlessness leading to excitement. This is because a brigadier in the UPDF, which follows the British army ranking system, is a promotion from the rank of colonel, which is a staff officer rank and just one rank shy of joining the senior officers of the army; the generals. Brigadier is a one star general and attaining that rank appears to cause excitement; especially about better things to come.

Take the case of current Lieutenant General Peter Elwelu. Just four years ago, in 2016, he was a brigadier when he was involved in the attack on the attack on the palace of the Omusinga Wesley Mumbere in Kasese. A year later in 2017 he was promoted to major general, which is a two-star general, and he is now a lieutenant general. That is just one rank shy of the most coveted rank in the army; that of general – also called ‘four-star.’

Therefore, most brigadiers have expectations of similar promotions and often work extra-hard and show ultra-loyalty to impress the appointing authority, the Commander in Chief, President Yoweri Museveni. In some cases, such as that of Brig. Deus Sande, the expected promotion takes a while.


  1. Why are you guys blaming this foot soldier? This barking dog/parrot is speaking exactly what he has heard from his master in private military command meetings. It is a total waste of three pages of analysis expressing shock and surprise when we all know where those words came from.

  2. Ok and perhaps, he should not have made such utterances at a time like this.
    But and however, being a noble man, he spoke his mind regardlessly, and ere we jump to judgements and irrecoverable comments, it is important that we weigh what is trending especially with neo-political pressure groups.
    Take forexample, the use by some pressure group cum political party, of attire similar to the armed forces, what is it intended to do? What are they insinuating? What are they baying for? What is their message to the masses especially those that are their support? What in history has been of those that have used the same in other parts of the world? How did Che end up whose figurative they portray? Don’t we think that it is provocative especially to the armed forces? Why don’t our academicians weigh on both sides point the danger of such a trend which is seen even by the common man?
    It would be very naive to subtract armed forces from politics of especially Africa.
    Ours is a home grown and unique setting and so is our history, we must not be oblivious of that. It is hard to hold all matters constant and base on one thing.
    Let’s have respect and listen to each and every one and not silence or keep aside what others are saying.
    It is what has become.
    For God And My Country.

  3. I have never come across any thug, gangster/s or armed robbers who handed over to the victims whatever they have successfully robbed.

    In other words, didn’t Mr. M7 himself, in broad-day-light tell the world on 26th January 2017; that Ugandans were mistaken if they thought he went to the bush in 1981 to liberate them?

    Verbatim, without blinking even once, Mr. Museveni looked into the eyes of his audience and said:

    “I’m not an employee. I hear some people saying that I’m their servant; I’m not a servant of anybody. I’m a freedom fighter. That is why I do what do; I’m fighting for myself, for my belief; that’s how I come in. If anybody thinks you gave me a job, he is deceiving himself. I’m just a freedom fighter whom you thought could help you also.”

    It is unfortunate that to date many Ugandans continue to misunderstand Mr. M7 and his NRA/M lingua frank, sic concepts like “fundamental change and “freedom fighter”. If they still do then Brig. Deus Sande have finally told them off in the face.

    Philip Magogo, a columnist with the Sunday Monitor once wrote and oratorically asked: “If Crime fighters fight crime, and fire fighters fight fire; what do freedom fighter fight?”

    1. The “Fundamental Change” rhetoric meant: except Mr. M7 the Supreme Guard, there will be no more change of Guards.

    2. “Freedom Fighter” rhetoric meant: on capturing power whoever would be advocating for freedom will be viciously fought.

    In a nutshell, for 35 and counting, these Mr. M7 and NRA/M are here fighting Ugandans. Didn’t Mr. M7 himself tell the same stupid Ugandans that he has no friends and they clapped? In other words, if someone publicly say that he does not have any friend, it means he only has enemies, hence the doctrine of “fighting”.

    Right from the “author and master of violence”, Mr. Museveni himself; Afande Sande is just one of the many shameless criminals who armed robbed the state Uganda and use the euphemism of liberation. For Hell’s sake, these gangsters came to power, robbing banks, stealing food and killing whoever got in their way.

  4. All the signs and phenomena of Ugandans’ freedom being viciously fought by the regime is written allover the sidewalks, streets, highways and byways.

    E.g., in a free country/society the government through police is to protect the citizens from criminals; and the military is to defend the citizens from foreign forces. And the Constitution is to protect the citizens from the government.

    But in Uganda, where capital offenders (vicious criminals) are the ones who captured powe in 1986; the police and the military are on the side of a criminal regime. Hence whenever Ugandans tried to express their displeasure and/or demand for freedom, they are confronted and being fought left, right and center; with AK47, machine guns and armored personnel carriers, like some invading foreign army.

  5. there is a new wave called kyagulanyi robert sentamu, it is only fools who can not see the kind of panic it has caused to museveni apologists including andrew mwenda

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