Tracing the Genesis of Kayihura's Woes

1792 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
He came under the spotlight for clearing Joel Aguma, the former Commandant of the Professional Standards Unit of any wrong doing after he was implicated in the illegal kidnap and extradition of Joel Mutabazi, the former bodyguard of Rwandan president, Paul Kagame in 2013.

The former Inspector General of Police-IGP Kale Kayihura appeared before the Uganda People's Defense Force-UPDF General Court Martial in Makindye On Friday. He was charged with failure to protect war materials and aiding the kidnap and illegal repatriation of Rwandan Refugees.

Kayihura, who was until recently one of the most powerful officials in government, pleaded not guilty to the charges and was sent back to Makindye Military Barracks pending the hearing of his bail application on Tuesday.

During his tenure as IGP Kayihura had a direct connection to President Yoweri Museveni and a classified budget, big enough to run a Ministry. He was loved and hated in equal measure because of his operation style.

He was dropped on March 4, 2018, from the position he occupied for 12 years and replaced with his Deputy, Martin Okoth Ochola.

But critics believe that the fall of Kayihura started with the appointment of General Henry Tumukunde as Security Minister. The docket oversees the operations of both the Internal and External Security Organizations. The tension between Police and the sister security agencies escalated when Kayihura convinced Museveni to transfer their budgets to the Police Force, which severely affected their funding.

He came under the spotlight for clearing Joel Aguma, the former Commandant of the Professional Standards Unit of any wrong doing after he was implicated in the illegal kidnap and extradition of Joel Mutabazi, the former bodyguard of Rwandan president, Paul Kagame in 2013.

Kayihura suspended Aguma following pressure from the United Nations and other foreign agencies. However, Aguma was reinstated and promoted a year later to Deputy Director of Crime Intelligence.

However, some analysts believe Kayihura started losing favor in the eyes of the president in 2014 when several cases of corruption were swept under the rag with his help.

"I heard the President rebuke him several times for what he called failures of the police Force in front of his juniors, something he had never done," said a source that met the president together with Kayihura.

In October 2014, the president publicly criticized the Police force for corruption more specifically the traffic Police whom he called 'devils in white clothes and ordered Kayihura to 'put his house in order.' The same year, President Museveni appointed the late Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, the former Chief of Defense Forces as Internal Affairs Minister, which was seen as his attempt at trimming Kayihura's powers.

Until his death in September 2015, General Aronda had taken charge of the Police Force and would issue orders to Kayihura. Some of the orders included suspension of the accelerated promotion of officers. General Aronda also directed Kayihura to ensure that he consults the Police Authority before taking any serious decision.
Security Analyst and retired Police Officer, Fred Egesa, says prior to the appointment of Gen. Aronda Kayihura had usurped the powers of the Internal Affairs Minister.
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The tension between Aronda and Kayihura was evident prior to the minister's death. At one time, Kayihura skipped the passing out of police officers after completing their intermediate command course at Kaweweta. He instead invited all journalists who were scheduled to cover the pass out at Kaweweta to go to Jinja where he paraded Jamil Mukulu, the suspected leader of the rebel Allied Democratic Force-ADF.

At the time Kayihura shifted his focus on recruiting crime preventers, a project that softened president Museveni's stance towards him, but drew hostility from police officers. He promised to arm the Crime Preventers who included members of Bodaboda 2010, a group he is now being accused of arming illegally.
According to Egesa, some of the decisions taken during the time were irrational.
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 The appointment of Tumukunde was the last blow to Kayihura. He exposed Kayihura's supposed role in the illegal repatriation of Rwandan Refugees, arming civilians and mismanagement of cases to both the public and President. Tumukunde superintended over the arrest of Nixon Agasirwe and Joel Aguma, both confidants of the former IGP. They were charged before the General Court Martial.

This was followed by the arrest of Abdallah Kitatta, a close friend to Kayihura who is also being tried before the General Court Martial for illegal possession of fire arms.

Several senior police officers both in service and retired had openly complained about the militarization of the force, violation of human rights, favoritism in deployments and promotions and to failure to utilize the expertise of senior officers.

Herbert Karugaba, a retired Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police, wrote a three page letter to Kayihura after he was invited to attend the Police Centenary Celebrations at Kololo. He, however, turned down the invitation, saying he couldn't be party to the function because of the things that were going wrong in the police force.

In his letter, Karugaba said the force had been criticized and used as the machinery of the ruling National Resistance Movement-NRM party to suppress the opposition. He also blamed the police leadership for using the police budget for personal benefit.

Karugaba told URN in a phone interview that what is happening today in Kayihura's case was expected.
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Egesa advises the incumbent police leadership to learn from Kayihura's experience that from civilians you come, to civilians you go.
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Tagged with: president police

About the author

Dear Jeanne
Dear Jeanne is a URN journalist based in Kampala. Jeanne has been a URN staff member since 2014.

Jeanne started out as a political and crime reporter for NBS television in 2010. She went on to become a news director at the station before leaving in 2012 to join The Daily Monitor as an investigative reporter in 2012.

Jeanne is ambitious to improve her investigative reporting skills. Jeanne’s focus for much of her five year career has been to report on crime and security.