Kampala - Uganda's president Yoweri Museveni has removed his
head of the military Aronda Nyakairima, and moved him to a civilian position as
the minister for internal affairs, a statement from the military said on
Nyakairima was one of those named in a letter published in
the independent newspaper The Daily Monitor in early May about a purported plot
to stifle allegations Museveni is grooming his son for power by assassinating
The private letter by General David Sejusa, the head of
internal security and long regarded as close to Museveni, called for an
investigation into allegations of a plot "to assassinate people opposed to
Museveni's succession plan".
It said Nyakairima, who has been military chief since 2003,
was a possible target in the alleged plot.
Speculation is growing that Museveni, in office since 1986
and one of Africa's longest serving leaders, is lining up his son Kainerugaba
Muhoozi to take power at the end of his term in 2016, a move that would likely
test loyalties in Uganda's ruling elite.
Authorities in the east African country closed four media
organisations on Monday over the letter, including The Daily Monitor.
The paper, Uganda's most widely read, secured a court order
on Thursday requiring the police to leave its premises, but a police
spokesperson told Reuters they would not be leaving.
Nyakairima would be replaced by Katumba Wamala, the military
"Looks like the more 'political' senior military
figures are being eased out of the mainstream military," said Angelo
Izama, a Ugandan analyst at the America-based think tank, Open Society
After ruling for 27 years, Museveni's reluctance to cede
power has rankled critics.
The police say the closure of the media organisations is
aimed at enabling them to search for documents related to the alleged
assassination plot and that they would not leave until they obtain those
Rights activists and western governments have denounced the
media crackdown, saying it impedes democracy and erodes media freedoms.
"We're looking at this not as an isolated incident but
as part of Museveni's grand scheme to demolish democracy in Uganda," said
Livingstone Sewanyana, executive director of Foundation for Human Rights
Initiative, a local rights body.
In statements this week the EU delegation in Uganda and the
United States Embassy said they were "deeply concerned" and that the
closure of media organisations was having a "chilling effect on the freedoms
of expression and speech".