20th October 2005
Museveni is man on a mission

LT. GEN. CALEB AKANDWANAHO a.k.a. SALIM SALEH, 45, is a key figure in Uganda's military set up. He is also President Museveni's younger brother. As part of a special report on his personal journey from childhood, he gave some insights into what he thinks of his brother's leadership abilities and style for our special Series - 'The M7 I Know':

As a brother, he is very difficult because he is over-disciplined. If you compare his character with mine, he’s totally different. For him he seems to have a mission. His mission is all about Uganda, his cows and his children. That’s all. The rest of us… ha…ha…ha… we are neither here nor there. That’s at a personal level.



But what definitely distinguishes him from me is that he works on programmes; he doesn’t work on relationships. If you share the same programme and mission with him, then you are his friend. If you share the same programme and you oppose him at that level, he will face you…

If you use non-existent assumptions and you challenge him, you will fall apart. He knows what he wants but the problem is that he has very few people to share it with. He is a man on a mission.

Museveni’s weakness

Forgiveness is a weakness on one hand, but it’s also a very serious strength. Some people would want a hard-nosed, tough-eyed president so that when he walks around people just fall off. So you can say that he’s not intimidating. But he gives you enough time to learn. He hopes that every person deserves enough time to learn.

That’s why he invented this thing called katebe. Unfortunately, some of us have sat on katebe (remained undeployed) for a very long time. We believe that he’s still considering it. So you can call that a weakness.

His other weakness is believing in intellectuals who have worked with him for a very long time. I think he over-trusts them at the expense of us; the reasonable but illiterate people – especially in economics.

President’s style

President Museveni runs the country mainly through delegation. He delegates a lot to the Cabinet and he believes in discussing and agreeing before implementing. That’s the Museveni I know. Once you agree, then he believes you are going to follow what you agreed.

Museveni vs Gen. Muntu

I am the only witness between those two men, Gen. Mugisha Muntu and the commander-in-chief (President Museveni). Muntu (as army commander) had full, uncontested powers… to an extent that some of us could no longer even advise the commander in chief… So for Muntu to say Museveni treats the UPDF as a personal army and has failed to build institutions is a big lie because he had a lot of good will and Muntu’s job in those nine years (as army commander)… So Muntu should stop blaming other people for what he failed to do...

I couldn’t advise the President on anything because Gen. Muntu was in charge. So for him to come up and criticise is unfair. And the institutions are there, only that people don’t use them or they don’t know how to use them, or just choose not to use them. The UPDF is an institutionalised force. That’s why despite 20 years of war, it’s still a cohesive organisation. So criticism should come from someone else, not from Gen. Muntu.

For me I stayed there for only six months as army chief. Muntu stayed there for nine years. If I stayed there for maybe half the time he stayed there and had the goodwill that we all gave him, [I would have done a lot]...