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Junk Helicopters?: Did several chopper crashes cause problems for Ssempijja, Mbadi?

On Thursday, President Yoweri Museveni, who doubles as the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, made huge changes in the army.

First, the President dropped the Minister of Defense and Veterans Affairs, Vicent Ssempijja. He was appointed as a presidential advisor and replaced by Jacob Oboth Oboth. 
In the army, the President dropped Gen. Wilson Mbadi as Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) and appointed him as the Minister of State for Trade. He was replaced by Gen. Muhoozi Kainerugaba. Deputy CDF, Lt Gen Peter Elwelu, too, was dropped, and appointed as Presidential Advisor. He was replaced by Lt. Gen. Samuel Okiding.

Not much is known about the reason for the huge changes in the army.

However, Gen. Muhoozi’s friend and strategist, Andrew Mwenda, seems to suggest that corruption could have caused the massive changes. 

“This is the third phase of the struggle to transform UPDF. This is a new broom coming to sweep defense headquarters. Those who have been involved in dirty deals, beware of what is coming. This is the most upright Ugandan when it comes to clean management; the most dedicated officer concerned about the effectiveness of the army and the welfare of its soldiers. UPDF has been waiting for this moment,” Mwenda posted on his X account following the changes in the army.

It is also important to note that the army Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Leo Kyanda, was dropped and replaced by Maj Gen Jack Bakasumba. Lt. Gen. Kyanda was appointed as Defense Attaché. 

Chopper crashes
Prior to the changes, a number of UPDF choppers crashed. 

In January 2024, a helicopter gunship crashed in Ntoroko. Three people died in that incident. In September 2022, a M-24 helicopter crashed in Kabarole. The crash destroyed a house and a banana plantation. 

In July last year, a UPDF helicopter that was on routine operations in the Karamoja subregion crashed. 

In 2022, two Mi-24 helicopters crashed in Fort Portal and Mityana. 

In 2021, a UPDF jet ranger crashed at Lido Beach in Entebbe, killing Capt. Caroline Busingye. The Entebbe crash happened six days after another UPDF helicopter came down soon after taking off in Balidogle, Somalia. 

In 2020, Maj. Naome Karungi, who was UPDF’s most senior female pilot, perished alongside flight trainee Benon Wakola when their jet ranger reportedly hit a hill in Butambala district. 

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