By Pascal Kwesiga
President Yoweri Museveni has appointed Brig. Moses Ddiba Ssentongo as the new chairman of the General Court Martial.
Ssentongo replaces Brig. Fred Tolit, whose one year term expired early this month.
According to a communication that was issued by Museveni on June 11, Ssentongo – who formally served as political commissar of the UPDF – is expected to take over from Tolit on Friday at a handover ceremony.
Lt. Col Paddy Ankunda, the army spokesperson, could not be reached for a comment, but Tolit confirmed that he had been replaced.
The President also replaced some members of the court with new officers.true
Tolit, who has served in various capacities in the army, replaced Lt. Gen. Charles Angina, who was recently appointed the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces.
Tolit (right), who served as military attaché to the UN before he was appointed chairman of the military court in 2012, on Wednesday urged court members he has served with to continue working extra hours to clear a backlog of cases. This was during a meeting in Makindye.
Tolit, who is not yet assigned a new job, served as director of military intelligence and security from 1993 to 1998.
He also served as chief of operations and training in UPDF in 1998, 2nd Division commander, operation intelligence officer, defence liaison officer in the East African Community secretariat between 2005 and 2009. He also served as the assistant chief of staff from 2001 to 2003, among other assignments.
Tolit recently disposed of a case of spreading harmful propaganda and conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline against Brig. Henry Tumukunde, which had been before court for eight years.
He sentenced Tumukunde to severe reprimand, a strong warning in the military.
Tolit also sentenced Pte. Patrick Okot to 90 years in jail for killing 10 civilians and soldiers in Bombo town in March.
Before his term expired, Tolit was hearing a case against Col. Fenekansi Mugyengi, who is accused of kidnapping a Congolese rebel chief, two soldiers and one security guard accused of attacking Mbuya barracks as well as fraud cases in the army, among other criminal offences against soldiers and civilians.
Tolit has rehabilitated the court building, fixed new furniture and improved the welfare of the staff during his tenure. Sources also said Tolit lobbied for increased facilitation for the court.