Written by Ssemujju Ibrahim Nganda Chief of Defence Forces battles Constitutional Court petition alleging sectarianism in the Army. The Banyankore were exclusively promoted to the highest rank of General in the Army because they are the best trained and most exemplary officers in the country, the Chief of the Defence Forces, General Aronda Nyakairima, has told the Constitutional Court in a sworn affidavit. He was denying the allegation that the promotion of Gen. Yoweri Museveni, Gen. Elly Tumwine, Gen. Salim Saleh, Gen. David Tinyefuza and himself-all of them Banyankore, was ethnically motivated. The allegation is contained in a petition lodged in the court by the head of UPC's Communication Department, Benson Ogwang Echonga, and a group of lawyers calling themselves Advocates Pro Bono Group (APBG) Limited on August 18. The petitioners are praying the Constitutional Court to declare as unconstitutional the promotion of the five officers from the same ethnic background to the highest rank in the Army. According to the group's lead counsels Adams Kibwanga Makmot and Isaac Zackie, "the promotion of His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni hailing from Mbarara in Ankole Region, the promotion of Salim Saleh alias Caleb Akandwanaho who hails from Mbarara in Ankole Region and is the younger sibling of His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the promotion of Elly Tumwine who hails from Mbarara in Ankole Region, the promotion of Aronda Nyakairima who hails from Rukingiri in Kigezi - Ankole Region (sic!), and the promotion of David Tinyefuza who hails from Sembabule District but of Ankole extract as Generals, the highest rank in the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, and omitting to promote any other equally qualified and experienced Army officers from the other regions of the Republic of Uganda to the rank of General, contravene the provisions of article 208 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, which provides that the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces shall have a national character." FALSE CLAIMS In a five-page affidavit that he swore in the Attorney General's chambers on August 26, which is appended to the main defence, Aronda dismisses as false the petitioners' claim that the promotion of the said officers was based on ethnicity. "The promotion of H.E. the President, Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, Gen. Caleb Akandwanaho, Gen. Elly Tumwine, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima and Gen. David Tinyefuza was based on both civil and military training …." reads Aronda's affidavit in part. He adds: "The officers promoted to the rank of General have military experience dating back to the early 1970s, including their participation and leadership role in the then Front for National Salvation (FRONASA), experience and leadership role in the liberation struggle from 1980 to 1986." Nyakairima's affidavit, together with the Attorney General's defence, were filed in the Constitutional Court on August 28. Aronda now faces the task of convincing the Constitutional Court that the five Generals are the best trained, experienced or exemplary officers in the UPDF. For instance, Army officers such as Col. Kizza Besigye and Brig. Henry Tumukunder have pointed out before that General Museveni has never enrolled for any known formal military training. In April 2005, Brig. Henry Tumukunde said: "I don't think President Museveni is so much a military person in the sense of career. President Museveni is a revolutionary fighter and strategist. He has never done any career programmes." A lawyer who declined to be named told The Observer that some of the Generals named were not part of the FRONASA group until much later in 1979 when Tinyefuza did police training in Tanzania and Tumwine enrolled for a cadet course at Monduli, Tanzania. Apart from Gen. Museveni, the other four have done the Staff and Command College Course, which is the second highest level of training in the Army. There are now about 50 officers in the UPDF who have completed the highest military course – National Defence College Course. These include: Lt. Gen. Ivan Koreta, Lt. Gen. Edward Katumba Wamala, Col. Hudson Mukasa, Lt. Gen. Jeje Odong, Col. Fred Bogere and Maj. Gen. James Kazini. Gen. Museveni has indeed had a long military experience, starting with the anti-Amin struggle in the early 1970s. Saleh, Tinyefuza and Tumwine joined the anti-Amin groups towards the end, while Nyakairima's military career started in 1982 when he joined the NRA bush-war in Luwero.