Brig Kisame deployed to head CAA security, Entebbe airport

Brig Mike Samuel Kisame

What you need to know:

  • This follows a letter from the President expressing an interest in the “mistakes of CAA and the airport management”.

President Museveni has endorsed the redeployment of a senior officer of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF), Brig Mike Samuel Kisame, to take over as the security manager of the Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and Entebbe International Airport.

A copy of a letter seen by Saturday Monitor indicates that the endorsement of Brig Kisame was precipitated by a recommendation made by the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) of the UPDF, Gen Wilson Mbasu Mbadi.

“I have received your letter on the 29th of June 2022, regarding the appointment of Brig Kisame as security manager of Entebbe airport (CAA). I totally support the proposal. He is likely to be a good choice,” Mr Museveni wrote in a July 10 letter to Gen Mbadi.

The Army and Ministry of Defence spokesperson, Brig Felix Kulayigye, could not confirm the appointment, saying he had “only heard” about it via social media, but Mr Vianney Luggya, the head of corporate affairs at CAA, confirmed the appointment.

“Yes, it is true that Brig Kisame was appointed the new manager in-charge of security, but he has not yet assumed office. We expect him to take charge in the course of next month (August),” Mr Luggya told Saturday Monitor.

The deployment comes hot on the heels of a letter in which Mr Museveni wrote to the Minister of Works and Transport, Gen Katumba Wamala, expressing an interest in the “mistakes of CAA and the airport management”.

Sources close to the Presidency told Saturday Monitor that Brig Kisaame is now expected to address some of the issues contained in a report that a former employee of CAA sent to the President as far back as June 2021.

The report claimed that Entebbe airport had been turned into a major conduit for narcotic drugs on account of both corruption and security lapses.

“Security at the airport is neglected because it is headed by corrupt officials with insufficient security knowledge. As a result, Entebbe is now red flagged by many countries as a conduit for illicit wildlife trade, human trafficking, minerals and narcotics smuggling,” the whistleblower wrote.

The report accused some employees of the aviation regulator of collusion with criminals to compromise screening machines for purposes of ensuring prohibited items went undetected.

The whistleblower claimed that one of the security features that should have been utilised to bolster security at the airport, the search park, had been turned into a cash cow through which funds were being stolen.

AG on Search Park

The state of the security search park came up again in the Auditor General’s report for the period ending June 2021.

“The Authority undertook works for a security search park, shelter and road at EIA, executed by IBB International at a contract price of Shs4,716,479,582. The project, which was first committed in 2013/2014, remained incomplete and dormant despite expenditure of Shs3,792,124,901 already incurred,” the Auditor General wrote.

Mr Luggya had in a previous interview told Saturday Monitor that issues around the audit queries had since been addressed.

However, the former employee accused CAA of failure to give priority to the completion and equipping of the security park.

“This project (the search park), which is critical for the security of the airport, has remained incomplete as a shell with no equipment. Non critical projects such as the Karibuni Project are being implemented for other ulterior motives, leaving this critical project incomplete,” the whistleblower wrote.

The park is meant to be the first security check point where vehicles and individuals are screened before accessing the airport facility.

The facility is meant to be equipped with aviation security screening equipment that meets International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) approved performance standards.

Some of the approved equipment includes a drive through dual-energy X-ray scanner for checking cargo compliance to manifest documentation and the detection of contraband, explosives, narcotics and weapons.

Other approved equipment includes cargo and mail metal detection devices, remote explosive scent tracing devices, free running explosive detection dogs for cargo screening, security scanners, shoe explosive detection devices, shoe metal detection and explosive trace detection equipment and explosive detection systems, among others.

“People are meant to leave their cars and go through scanners where people would be getting out of the cars and walkthrough, but they do not have them. They instead have a rudimentary set up near a petrol station,” the former employee wrote

However, Mr Luggya told Saturday Monitor in a previous interview that the acquisition of equipment for the security search park was out of the hands of CAA.

“The equipment and facilities to be used in the search park were part of an Integrated security project, which was part of a bigger government project that is yet to be executed,” Mr Luggya said.

Who is Brig Kisame?

Brig Kisame was commissioned to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant on April 21, 1989. He progressively rose through the ranks, being promoted to the rank of Lt Col on July 15, 2008.

He was again promoted to the rank of Colonel in May 2012, before earning another promotion to the rank of Brigadier in February 2016.

Brig Kisame has over the years held several high-ranking positions in the army and in foreign missions abroad, including serving as President Museveni’s Military Assistant in the period between 2015 and 2020.

Some of the posts that he has held include that of Director for Intelligence in the Uganda People’s Defence Air Force, Military Information Office Attaché to the African Union Mission In Somalia (Amisom), and Deputy Chief of Military Intelligence and Defense Attaché to the Republic of Sudan and to Kenya.