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Life and times of Gen. James Kazini
Publish Date: Nov 13, 2009
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JAMES Bananukye Kazini was born in 1957. He is a Musongora from Kasese, although his parents migrated to Ssanga in Kiruhura district, where he was buried yesterday.

Little is known about his childhood but his sister, Naome Katto, said he liked soldiering.

He first spent time near soldiers in 1979 as a nursery teacher at Kabamba Military School. When Idi Amin was overthrown, he moved with the withdrawing Ugandan army to West-Nile. It was there that he became a soldier in the Former Uganda National Army (FUNA), led by Moses Ali.

Around 1984, he joined the NRA rebels and was given number RO133. He went on to become Salim Saleh’s chief bodyguard.

When Kampala fell in 1986, he was deployed as commanding officer of the 1st Battalion, based in Lubiri. He was in charge of eliminating crime in the city. He oversaw the creation of the first Local Defence Units in Kampala.

He was promoted to major and deployed as commanding officer of the military Police in 1989. He ordered all military vehicles repaired in specific garages and not anywhere.

From the military Police, he briefly served in the north, before being deployed as commanding officer of the mechanised regiment. According to Museveni, Kazini helped re-organise the regiment.

In 1995, he was deployed to fight West-Nile Bank Front rebels in West-Nile. After their leader, Juma Oris, was killed, they opted for peace talks.

He was promoted to colonel and moved to the 4th Division in Gulu to battle the LRA rebels in 1996.

In 1998, he was promoted to brigadier and named chief of staff. Top of his duties was to coordinate the war against the ADF in Western Uganda.

In 1999, he had largely annihilated ADF and pursued them into bases inside the DRC. It was during this year that elements of the 65th and 53rd Battalions of the UPDF under his command fought bloody battles with the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF) in Kisangani.

He came back from the DRC and was promoted to the rank of major general, before being appointed army commander in the year 2000.

n 2001, a UN investigation in the Congo war concluded that Kazini was one of the officers who plundered the DRC resources. He, however, denied them.

In 2003, he was removed from the post of army commander over allegations that he abated the creation of ghost soldiers. He was then sent on a course in Nigeria.

In 2004, his trial over the creation of ghosts started at the General Court Martial.

In 2005, he graduated from Nigeria with a Masters Degree in Military Strategy. Meanwhile, the court cases continued.

In 2008, he was found guilty of causing sh61m financial loss to the army through ghost soldiers. He was sent to Luzira Prison but stayed there for less than a month after his lawyers appealed. The court appeal process was going on when he died.

On November 10, 2009, he was killed

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