By Watchdog reporter
This week the Observer newspaper reported that organizers of the 2017 African Land Forces Summit in Malawi had held the invitation of Uganda’s Lands forces commander, Maj Gen Peter Elwelu.
The development complicates Gen Elwelu’s relations with the international community who are planning to hold him responsible for the Kasese stand off last November in which more than 60 people lost their lives.
Gen Elwelu who was the Second Division commander based in Kasese hotspot found himself in the eye of the storm, as the king of the Rwenzururu Charles Wesley Mumbeere defied orders from the government to disarm his men.
As commander, Elwelu stormed the palace with his men, arrested or killed some fighters before parts of the palace enclave were burnt down.
The king was finally arrested, jailed and tried in court before he was given bail, with stringent restrictions.
Meanwhile, Gen Elwelu was promoted from brigadier to major general and appointed Lands forces commander in the recent military reshuffle, making him one of the top bosses of the Ugandan military.
The Lands commander has been going on well with his work until he was notified of the continental summit scheduled for May.
However the United States government citing his lead role in the Kasese attacks, the US military, one of the key sponsors of the Malawi summit, have reservations about his presence in Lilongwe and have held on his invitation.
The move is likely to cause a defence diplomacy upset between Ugandans and their allies the Americans, it is not yet clear how UPDF is handling the matter.
With Gen Elwelu’s attendance hanging in the balance, if he misses the summit, it will highlight Kasese as indeed a black spot on UPDF image as well as on Elwelu’s military and leader career.
Given Uganda’s prominent role in stabilizing Africa, it is also a wakeup call that something in boiling in the international community circles.
This week, Uganda announced it was leaving Central Africa Republic after years of hunting for Joseph Kony. Kony is still on the run, but, Uganda’s CAR exploits had the backing of the US government.
Last year, Ugandan military was also asked to leave Southern Uganda, after one of the warring parties expressed discomfort with UPDF presence in the northern neighbor.
It is not clear when UPDF is pulling out of peace keeping in Somalia where it provides the biggest continent on AMISOM, but signs are on the wall the Ugandans won’t take long before they return home.
With singling out a senior officer at the rank of Lands commander, the international community, this is likely to complicate UPDF’s defence diplomacy.
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