President Museveni appoints Maj Gen Sam Kavuma as Commander of ATMIS


President Yoweri Museveni, who also serves as the Commander in Chief of Uganda’s armed forces, has promoted Major General Sam Kavuma to the rank of Lieutenant General and has appointed him as the commander of the African Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS).

This strategic military reshuffle comes as Lieutenant General Sam Okiding, who has led ATMIS since November 3, 2022, is reassigned.

Okiding took over from Burundian Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya in a mission critical to stabilizing Somalia.

Despite initial timelines proposing the withdrawal of ATMIS forces by the end of 2021, contingents from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia have continued their presence in Somalia.

The decision to extend the mission has been attributed to the ongoing threats posed by Al-Shabaab militants and the assessment that Somali security forces require further support to maintain stability.

Kavuma replaces Lt General Sam Okiding, who assumed command of ATMIS on November 3, 2022, then succeeding Burundian Lieutenant General Diomede Ndegeya.

Despite initial plans for the withdrawal of ATMIS forces from Somalia by the end of 2021, troops from Uganda, Burundi, Kenya, and Ethiopia remained due to concerns about the readiness of Somali security forces to counter threats, particularly from Al-Shabaab militants.

Last week, President Museveni appointed Lieutenant General Okiding as the Deputy Chief of Defence Forces (CDF). According to Colonel Akiiki, the Deputy UPDF Spokesperson, Lieutenant General Okiding’s appointment as Deputy CDF necessitated his return from Somalia.

As CDF, General Muhoozi is restricted from engaging in public political activities, a role he previously undertook as an advisor to his father on special security operations. General Muhoozi now holds the highest military rank.

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Members of General Muhoozi’s pressure group have called for his retirement from the military to focus on political endeavours.

Roles Maj Gen Sam Kavuma served before being promoted

Before his promotion, Lieutenant General Okiding served as the Deputy Commander of UPDF Land Forces, while Lieutenant General Kavuma, his successor as ATMIS Commander, held the position of Deputy Coordinator of Operation Wealth Creation.

The transition from the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to ATMIS was marked by a strategic rebranding as key international supporters like the US, China, France, Germany, and the UK reevaluated their funding commitments.

This reevaluation was based on the perception that the mission’s objectives had been largely achieved, despite the continuing challenges faced by Somalia in its fight against insurgency and efforts towards national stabilization.

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