Uganda and Rwanda this week retired long serving military generals in what security analysts have said is a purge done with one eye on the future, to remove the larger-than-life powerful officers from active service and allow internal harmony within the forces, unencumbered by the awkward presence of historical army chiefs.
In the retirement, Uganda retired a total of 110 army officers, of the number, 17 were colonel, 13 Lt. Colonel, and 63 were of the rank of Major. The retirement of the top generals comes on the heels of recent upheavals in West and Central Africa in which military leaders with resources to command national army have toppled their leaders in bloodless coups.
In the Rwanda retirement, the military did not indicate reasons for the retirement, only stating that President Paul Kagame has approved their retirement.
In the retirement speech delivered by the Uganda president, Yoweri Kaguta Musseveni, said: “Don’t regard this retirement as becoming redundant now, no, not at all! This is like a mutation, from one form of service to another one and that is why we had to hold on retirement until we had solved the problem of package, and I can assure you that what you are going with is considerable,” Museveni told the retiring army chief.
“That is why last year I permitted the retirement of generals and that is why for a long time we do not permit the retirement of casualties at Mubende. We said they should stay until we give them a good retirement package to make sure that their lives in the villages is good. Now this package that you have got is really good,” he said.
In Rwanda, the country’s defense force said 12 generals and 1,013 military officers retired from army.
For Rwanda, the retirement of generals who include historical figures comes days after President Paul Kagame reshuffled top military chiefs to herald what is being linked to a transition in 2024.
The Uganda President YoWeri Musseveni and Paul Kagame of Rwanda are among the six longest serving presidents who are still in office in Africa. While Uganda Musseveni has stayed in office for 37 years since 1982, Kagame has stayed in office for 23 years since the year 2000. The longest siting president in Africa at the moment is President Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea who has stayed in office for 44 years since 1979.