President Museveni has reappointed Gen Kale Kayihura as Inspector General of Police (IGP) for another three-year term, placing him at the helm of the country’s law and order agency until 2020, Daily Monitor can reveal.
Gen Kayihura’s good fortune also applies to his deputy Okoth Ochola, Commissioner General of Prisons Dr Johnson Byabashaija, and his deputy Mr James Mwanje whose contracts were expiring this month. They have been reappointed for three more years.
In a March 14 letter to the Speaker of Parliament, Ms Rebecca Kadaga which Daily Monitor has seen, Mr Museveni wrote: “The Police Authority and Prison Authority have recommended the following officers for renewal of contract,” before listing names of the quartet that now await approval by the Parliament’s Appointments Committee.
“In line with Article 213 of the Constitution, I hereby nominate the officers for renewal of contract for three years,” the letter states.
Article 213 of the 1995 Constitution provides that the Inspector General of Police GP and his deputy shall be appointed by the President with the approval of Parliament.
In the letter copied to Internal Affairs minister Gen Jeje Odongo, the President also indicated he was attaching the officers’ curriculum vitae for the requisite parliamentary approval.
However, highly placed sources in the Speaker’s office intimated to Daily Monitor that Gen Kayihura, who has been on the receiving end of a barrage of criticisms over the country’s fluid security situation following widespread cases of violence, house break-ins, and robberies, was “buying more time before appearing for approval given the hostile disposition from MPs and the public.”
Only last Thursday Gen Kayihura appeared before Parliament’s Budget Committee where MPs grilled him over the spate of killings in the country and police’s handling of the operations, days after a suspect paraded by the IGP told journalists that criminal gangs were working in connivance with some police officers.
In an interview yesterday, the Parliament’s director of communications, Mr Chris Obore, said: “The Appointments Committee sits when Parliament is on. It is entirely the Speaker’s decision when to call the committee, however, she has had a busy schedule but I am sure she will call the committee to do the vetting at the earliest opportunity.” Gen Kayihura’s contract was set to run out in October. Ordinarily, the service chiefs inform the President that they are available for reappointment and service six months before expiry of their contract.
On March 2, Daily Monitor quoting a police source, reported that Gen Kayihura and his deputy had applied for renewal of their three-year contracts on January 16.
The source said the Police Authority, headed by Internal Affairs minister, Gen Odongo, received Gen Kayihura’s application on January 18, two days after Mr Ochola’s application.
The source also told Daily Monitor that Gen Kayihura in his application for a new contract cited increased personnel, bridging the gap between citizens and police through community policing, improving relations between police and other security agencies, building accommodation, professionalising police and reduced crime rates as reasons he deserves a fifth stint as police chief.
Gen Kayihura also chest-thumps about the Force’s increased workforce from 14,000 to 44,600 personnel since he took over the mantle from Gen Katumba Wamala in 2005. Section 8 of the Police Act establishes the Police Authority composed of the Internal Affairs minister as its chairperson, the Attorney General, the Inspector General of Police, the Deputy Inspector General of Police, a senior officer in charge of administration at the headquarters of the Force and three other persons appointed by the President. The Permanent Secretary of the ministry responsible for Internal Affairs is the secretary to the Police Authority, which has a quorum of five.
Gen Kayihura’s re-appointment is likely to rattle human rights groups and Opposition politicians who have since demanded the commander- in- chief to bring the IGP to order owing to a host of “human rights violations, partisan policing and systemic breakdown in professional policing.”
On March 19, President Museveni told mourners at deceased Assistant Inspector of Police Andrew Felix Kaweesi’s funeral that the Force had become a den of criminals on the watch of Kayihura’s leadership.
Mr Museveni then said: “All these murders, I have followed myself. There are always clues leading to the criminals but the criminals have infiltrated the police,” adding, “You get a situation where they are intimidating the witnesses, killing the witnesses. That is why the public fears to give information (about criminals) to the police.”
Kaweesi was gunned down on March 17, and Mr Museveni’s hair-raising remarks came three days after he had already written to the Speaker and Internal Affairs minister, handing his blue-eyed lieutenant, criticised for partisan policing, the mantle for another three years in what comes off as instructions subtly delivered to the IGP for his new term.
Four-time presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye last week demanded that Gen Kayihura should be relieved of his duties for sleeping on the job while crime escalates.
“I think if the regime wants to salvage whatever is left of any care about this country; Mr Kayihura should be thrown out of office. Of course, if it was a more decent political system in which people have authority, he would have resigned by himself. He cannot manage dealing with this; he is partly the problem and I think it will do this country good for him to get out,” Dr Besigye said during a media briefing at his Katonga Road offices in Kampala.
Gen Kayihura’s reign was shaken in July 2016 when the IGP and seven of his officers were summoned by Makindye Magistrates’ court over torture charges relating to police brutality against Dr Besigye’s supporters.
The IGP would later be saved by a last-minute injunction issued by Deputy Chief Justice Steven Kavuma after a lawyer challenged the trial in the Constitutional Court.
Gen Kayihura, who was saved by court from trial, recently ran to the same court and successfully secured an injunction against select online publication, gagging both the publications and their editors from reporting on the on-going investigation into Kaweesi’s killing.
Sources close to the IGP say he considers the online publications “as tools used by his foes within the security apparatus,” especially in the Security ministry, Internal Security Organisation and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence.
Gen Kayihura, according to the sources, claim his detractors are riled by the fat resource envelop apportioned to the Police to do intelligence at the expense of other sister security agencies while “others are genuinely uncomfortable with the IGP’s unorthodox work methods.”
Gen Kayihura three years ago faced a rough time with the Parliament’s Appointments Committee and yet the environment is even harsher today for the IGP who now has to work out ways of softening ground before making an appearance in the Speaker Kadaga-led committee.
Attempts to reach Gen Kayihura for a comment on the story were futile, but an aide who picked up his phone promised the police chief would get back to Daily Monitor for a comment on the story, but had not by press time.
Rise of Gen Kayihura
Born on December 26, 1955 in Kisoro, south-western Uganda, Kayihura attended Gasiza Primary School in Kisoro, before joining Mutolere Secondary School, in Kisoro District, up to Senior Four.
He then joined St Mary’s College Kisubi for Advanced Level education.
In 1978, Kayihura graduated with a Bachelor of Laws from Makerere University and later enrolled at the London School of Economics where he was awarded a Master of Laws (LLM) in 1982.
According to his online profile, the police chief has attended a number of military courses including, the Army Command Course at the Army Commander College in Nanjing, China; the Combined Arms Course, The Brigade/Battalion Commander’s Course, the Conflict Resolution and Management Course at Nasser Military Academy, Cairo, in Egypt; Command and Staff Course at the Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama, in United States, from 2000 to 2001.
In 1982, Kayihura joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) and rose through the ranks, becoming Aide de Camp to the Commander of the Mobile Brigade, from 1982 to 1986.
From 1986 to 1988, Kayihura was Staff Officer in the office of the assistant minister of Defence, then Chief Political Commissar and simultaneous Director of Political Education in NRA, Operational Commander of the UPDF in Ituri Province, DR Congo, and Military Assistant to the President and later head of Special Revenue Police Services.
Tenure as IGP
Gen Kayihura has had an eventful tenure as IGP, overseeing incidents that sometimes shook the regime. In all these instances, Gen Kayihura has stuck out his head and managed the crises with a zeal that has thrust him into the limelight and opened up his modus operandi as IGP to harsh criticisms from detractors, but winning a nod of approval from President Museveni, who has defended him and once called him “a loyal cadre of the NRM.”
In 2010, Human Rights Watch demanded that government order an independent investigation into the killing of unarmed persons during and after riots in Kampala on September 10 and 11, 2009. A Human Rights Watch investigation found that at least 13 people were shot by government forces in situations where lethal force was unnecessary.
The minister of Internal Affairs reported to Parliament that 27 people had died during the riots and that seven of those victims were not involved in the riots.
“Shooting in self-defence is one thing, but we found that some soldiers shot at bystanders and shot through locked doors,” said Georgette Gagnon, the Africa director at Human Rights Watch.
Hot on the heels of the 2011 presidential election, Opposition politicians took to peaceful demonstrations tagged ‘Walk-to-Work’ that would later be met with lethal response from the security forces.
In 2011, Human Rights Watch carried out investigations “into fatal and non-fatal shootings by the security forces, as well as human rights abuses such as beatings, theft, and rape that occurred on three of the most violent days of the demonstrations on April 14, 21, and 29, 2011. Based on multiple eyewitness accounts, Human Rights Watch documented at least nine unarmed people killed by government forces - six in Kampala, two in Gulu, and one in Masaka - none of whom were actively involved in rioting.”
“Uganda’s security forces met the recent protests with live fire that killed peaceful demonstrators and even bystanders,” said Maria Burnett, a senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch.
Killings of Muslim clerics
Gen Kayihura’s reign has also seen him make endless promises to crack down on and bring to book assassins who since 2012 have been gunning down Muslim clerics with at least 12 shot dead by gunmen using getaway motorcycles.
Sheikh Yunus Kamoga and a host of other Muslims are facing trial on charges of murdering some of the clerics but questions still linger on who killed the others.
A 2015 Aljazeera ‘Africa Investigates’ film quoted sources, including Gen David Sejusa, the former coordinator of intelligence services, who suggested the killings cannot be detached from the regime, which could be playing to the gallery in respect to the international war on terror by exaggerating Uganda’s threat and positioning herself as a key ally in the global fight.
Killing of AIGP Kaweesi
The lowest point of the city killings was possibly the assassination of Andrew Felix Kaweesi whom Kayihura credited for giving him a safe landing when he joined the Force in 2005. That came a few years after Joan Kagezi, an Assistant Director Public Prosecutions, was gunned down in a similar fashion with the IGP rushing to blame the killing on DR Congo-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels.
Gen Kayihura has announced several arrests, but only 13 suspects have so far been charged with the killing.
Human rights lawyers have criticised the IGP “for always pulling public relations stunts, which is not matched by successful prosecution of suspects he parades before the media.”
Dr Johnson Byabashaija
Born in 1957 in Rukungiri District, Dr Byabashaija studied Veterinary Medicine at Makerere University (1982) and a Master of Science at the University of Glasgow, UK (1986).
He joined the Uganda Prisons Service upon returning to Uganda and rose through the ranks to become CGP in 2005.