By Raymond Baguma
The army has declared Gen. David Sejusa Absent without Leave (AWOL).
The Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala on Tuesday said Sejusa had gone beyond the given 21 days of leave, and as a servicing officer, and failure to report back on duty, he is Absent without Leave.
Gen Katumba was addressing journalists during a press conference at the ministry of defence headquarters in Mbuya.
Although Gen. Katumba did not explain the army next course of action on Sejusa, according to Section 41 of the UPDF Act of 2005, a soldier who without authority leaves or absents himself from his unit or place where his duty requires him to be, or fails to return, is liable on conviction to four years prison.
Gen. Katumba said the army would follow the parliamentary procedures and would replace Gen. Sejusa once the seat is declared vacant. Sejusa fled to self-imposed exile in the UK after he made statements about President Yoweri Museveni’s succession plans.
Gen. Katumba said that he was not bothered by Gen. Sejusa’s situation, adding that Sejusa had made a personal decision to take that path.
Gen. Katumba added that as Chief of Defence Forces, he has a responsibility over the army; adding that the only time he will get concerned with Sejusa will be when he starts an armed rebellion.
Last week, Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga gave Gen. Sejusa a one day ultimatum to resume his duties in Parliament or lose his seat as an army MP. The ultimatum expired on Wednesday last week.
Kadaga refused to honor Sejusa’s request for further extension of his leave by another three months after it had expired in August.
Gen. Sejusa first applied for leave on April 29, 2013, which was granted. Three days after the expiry of his leave on May 24, he requested Kadaga for extension of his leave, which was granted.
After the expiry of the extended leave on August 16, Gen Sejusa, through his lawyers Luzige, Lubega, Kavuma and Co. Advocates, Sejusa again requested for three more months.
However, this was rejected, with Speaker Kadaga saying that there were no grounds for her to grant Sejusa further leave after the previous one expired in August.
Kadaga noted that Gen. Sejusa had overstayed in Britain, yet he was not on official duty of Parliament or his constituency, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF). She also noted that Gen. Sejusa had been absent from the House without the permission for more than 15 sittings of the House.