Major General James Kazini is Dead

8852 Views Kampala, Uganda
The former army commander, Major General James Kazini, has died. Major General Kazini was allegedly killed at his home in Namuwongo early this morning. His home is located on 8th Street Industrial Area, close to the offices of The Daily Monitor. A source in the Kampala police says he was hit several times on the head with a large metal rod. Major General Kazini's suspected killer, Lydia Draru, has been arrested and is being held at Kampala Central Police Station. Once the news of Kazini's death was released, a group of army, police and military police officers rushed to his home. By 8:00 a.m. his body had not yet been moved. A group of police pathologists arrived shortly after 8:15 am to assess the crime scene. A small crowd of neighbors gathered outside the home, many of them fearful of talking to journalists about what they might have seen or heard prior the Major General Kazini's death. Further details regarding the incident have not been released by the army or police authorities. Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, spokesperson of the Uganda People's Defense Forces, has refused to comment on the matter, simply saying General Kazini was the victim of domestic violence. Major General James Kazini, the former army commander, was best known for his work in countering military rebellions in Uganda. In 1998 he was deployed to Western Uganda to command iOperation Mountain Sweepi against the rebels of the Allied Democratic Force (ADF). Under Operation Mountain Sweep, the Alpine Brigade in the Rwenzori Mountains was formed, to counter rebel incursions from the Democratic Republic of Congo. It was also the command under which the controversial Congo-based Operation Safe Haven was formed. In 2005 the International Court of Justice ruled that Uganda had abused its incursion into the Congo, under the guise of Operation Safe Haven. It said senior Ugandan army officers, including Major General Kazini, had used Operation Safe Haven to loot and plunder the natural resources of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Between 2002 and 2003, James Kazini led Operation Iron Fist, an offensive against the Lord's Resistance Army in South Sudan. Shortly thereafter, he was suspended from the army by president Yoweri Museveni. Initially the Ugandan military played down Kazini's exit, saying he had been sent to study at the National War College in Abuja, Nigeria. However there were suspicions that the suspension had a lot to do with the accusations of theft in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Investigations into the Congo plunder case were made by the police and in 2005 the Director of Public Prosecutions said there was insufficient evidence to prefer criminal charges against Kazini for the alleged plunder. Kazini's woes were far from over. In 2002 President Museveni directed Amama Mbabazi, who was then Minister of Defense, to investigate Kazini and Brig. Henry Tumukunde, the former Director General of the Internal Security Organization, for creating ghost soldiers in the army payroll. A High Command committee chaired by Lt. Gen. David Tinyefuza later recommended Kazini's trial by the General Court Martial. In March last year, he was found guilty of causing financial loss and acquitted of abuse of office, forgery and uttering false documents. Major General Kazini spent more than a quarter a century in the army, rising from the level of a recruit and a private to command all military forces in Uganda.