Who Is The New Museveni’s Guard Force Commander?

President Yoweri Museveni yesterday appointed Brig Peter Onzia Candia as Acting Special Force Commander. Special Force is an elite component of Uganda People Defence Forces –UPDF which is responsible for among other things guarding the president, first family, key military and government installations.

When the name of Brig Candia appeared on the latest UPDF appointments as the new commander of Special Forces Command commonly known as SFC, many people wondered who he was. This is because SFC has been associated to names of people who have been sounding command positions such as first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, Maj Gen James Birungi, Maj Gen Stephen Muzeeyi Sabiiti and Brig Don Nabasa.

But information collected by Daily Press indicate Brig Candia has been part and parcel of SFC for over 15 years. For instance, a few know that he has been deputising first son Lt Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba who was yesterday appointed commander of UPDF Land Forces.

Brig Candia was in SFC during the command of Maj Gen James Birungi from June 2019 to December 2020 when Museveni brought back Lt Gen Kainerugaba. The first son had been serving as Special Presidential Advisor of Special Security Operation a position he was given in 2017.

Brig Candia also served in SFC when it was being commandeered by Col Don Nabasa who later became a Brigadier. Brig Nabasa was dropped in 2019 and replaced with Maj Gen Birungi. After training, Brig Nabasa was last year appointed commander of UPDF contingent in war trodden country Somalia.

Before being elevated to deputy to Lt Gen Kainerugaba, Brig Chandia had previously served as group commander 2SFC group [battalion]. Brig Candia was once commander of Tank Battalion, Battalion Operations and Training Officer (BOTO), Tank Platoon commander, Infantry Platoon commander, Tank Company Commander and head of Maintenance Unit.

Brig Candia has held such positions because of the numerous military training and courses he has been taking over the years. He was trained at Military Security of the State, Russia, Senior Command and Staff College, Kimaka, Political Education and Leadership Development Course- NALI, Tank Battalion Commander’s Course- Armoured warfare Training School, Kalama, Tank Platoon Commander’s Course- Armoured Warfare Training School, Kalama, Very Very Important Persons [VVIP] Protection course at Kasenyi, Instructors Course and Cadet Course – School of Infantry, Jinja.

SFC History

The information that was compiled by then commander Brig Don Nabasa, about the history of SFC, shows the elite force started way back in 1980s during the reigns of president Milton Obote. During the reigns of Obote, SFC was known as the High Command Unit (HCU) based at Kyererezi, Kapeeka which is present day Nakaseke District.

With the arrival of president Museveni in 1986, HCU was renamed the Presidential Protection Unit –PPU which was first commanded Lt Col Akanga Byaruhanga who has since died. The numbers of soldiers with specialized training and weapons grew from battalions to a Brigade and was eventually codenamed Presidential Guard Brigade –PGB and in 2010 they were named Special Forces Group- SFG. After two years, SFG was named Special Forces Command (SFC).

Brig Candia will be deputised by a person of equal rank Brig Gen Felix Busizoori who has also attended US Army War college, Senior Command and Staff College, Junior Staff and Command Course, Company Commanders Course, VIP course, Intelligence Course, Political Education and Leadership Development Course – NALI, Infantry Platoon Commander, Cadet Course and Recruit Course.