By Stuart Yiga
After spending decades in exile, renegade Colonel Samson Mande says that, he is also finalizing plans to come back home as his comrades.
In an exclusive interview with Red Pepper, Mande said, “I have three reasons as to why I have decided to come back home. First of all, I did not come to exile to stay forever, am not a settler here, I came here for the purpose of getting medical treatment after the mental and physical torture I received when I was persecuted and also to look at things from a different perspective for some time as I gather momentum to come back home, so this is what informs me most that I did not come to stay and die in exile,” Mande explains.
He further stipulated that, “I am not a coward, am being mistaken for cowardice when I stay and I did not come to participate in the challenges the country is going through, I have commitments, projects solutions, I can offer in political-social-economic challenges the country is facing. I don’t want to remain here operating from far, I want to be in the field, I don’t want to be a spectator, I would not want to be seen as if am sending people and fearing challenges to face them off.”
Comparing his situation to Rtd Colonel Kiiza Besigye, Mande said, “We had comrades here like Besigye pushing the same cause, accused of the same cases, he has gone through many challenges, but he has managed to contribute to his family development, National development and has formulated a fully-fledged political party which is operational. I will come in the same way, am aware of the charges but I have consulted widely,”
He also stressed that, “Challenges in Ugandan are wide, so I have to come back and start battling some of them. My family, Lawyers, people I work with, are already aware of my coming back but for those who tormented me to the extent of going to exile, I haven’t consulted them. Am open to dialogue to whoever wants, even government.”
He further explains that he did not desert from the army but specifies that he only resigned. “If there is any complication, my legal team will work it out so am not scared whatsoever,” he said.
On the issue of General David Sejusa’s earlier position rejecting to meet the Commander-in-Chief and President of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Mande criticized Sejusa’s lawyer, Ladislaus Rwakafuzi, for not guiding him well about the matter.
“His lawyer should have advised him that the commander in chief has the right to order and meet any serving officer or other ranks and his refusal would mean disobeying lawful orders, insubordination and undermining authority which are three crimes and charges,”
He further questioned the arrangement that brought the general back home from exile.
“Could it be a quiet agreement between Tinyefuza and Gen. Yoweri Museveni in order to give the former political capital that he needs as bait to keep luring Ugandans opposed to the government into a trap? Or is he looking for an arrest at any cost so that he can level up with Dr. Kizza Besigye,” Mande queried.