Kayihura’s hatchet men bounce back

Assistant Commissioner of Police Siraje Bakaleke, former police director of ICT Amos Ngabirano and Assistant Commissioner of Police Jonathan Baroza. PHOTO/COMBO

What you need to know:

  • At least three of the former IGP’s associates have returned to the country from exile.

All of Gen Kale Kayihura’s hatchet men from his time as Inspector General of Police (IGP) have returned from self-imposed exile, Monitor has confirmed.

Most notable among the group that fled into exile for different reasons and at varying times are Mr Amos Ngabirano, the former director of Information Communication Technology (ICT); Mr Jonathan Baroza, an Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP); and Mr Siraje Bakaleke, an ACP.

Sources within security circles told Monitor that Mr Ngabirano, a civilian who was recruited into the Force by Gen Kayihura on account of his “expertise” in ICT, is the most recent returnee. By the time he self-exiled from his country, Mr Ngabirano had climbed up to the rank of Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP).

“He returned from self-imposed exile in Britain last month and is under the protection and care of the State,” our sources in security revealed.

Mr Ngabirano, who was heavily involved in the procurement and installation of CCTV cameras to help boost security, has been away since around January 2018.

Former police boss Kale Kayihura. PHOTO/FILE

Before his departure, Mr Ngabirano had written to then Internal Affairs minister, Gen Jeje Odongo, who also chaired the police authority, informing him that he was not interested in having his contract renewed for another three years. The contract had been due to expire at the end of March 2018.

The resignation, however, came against a backdrop of information that Mr Museveni had directed Gen Kayihura to drop the axe on Mr Ngabirano. This was amid concerns that the Force had been infiltrated by criminal elements.

Mending fences?
We were unable to establish the circumstances under which Mr Ngabirano returned. Sources close to Gen Kayihura, however, intimated to us that the quiet return is part of efforts by the State to mend fences with the immediate past IGP. Gen Kayihura was fired on March 4, 2018 before he was arrested and detained on June 3, 2018.

The General was subsequently dragged before the General Court Martial where he was charged with failure to protect war materials contrary to the UPDF Act; failure to supervise and ensure accountability for the arms and ammunitions issued to specialised units under the office of the IGP; and aiding and abetting kidnapping from Uganda.

Gen Kayihura was accused of allowing arms and ammunition issued to police units to be given to gangs and paramilitary organisations. He also had kidnapping charges slapped on him, specifically his involvement in the forced illegal repatriation of Rwandan exiles and refugees to Rwanda. He was released on bail late in August 2018 after 76 days in custody.

Kisoro demands
President Museveni, while campaigning in Kisoro in January 2021, told the people of Kisoro that he would consider pardoning Gen Kayihura.

“Kale Kayihura, just like the [Kisoro LC5] chairman said, there are those who committed heavy sins and we forgave them. So then why don’t we forgive him? Because you’ve asked and said he’s our person (NRM), I’ll speak to the military prosecution and tell them your request and also add in my request to have him forgiven,” Mr Museveni said.

President Museveni handed a spear and shield as a symbol of power by Kisoro District NRM leaders on January 4, 2021 as he canvassed for votes ahead of January 14 polls. Inset is former IGP Gen Kale Kayihura. PHOTO/ KELVIN ATUHAIRE/ FILE

In December 2021, the Senior Presidential Advisor on Special Operations, Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba, weighed in and pleaded with his father to pardon Gen Kayihura.

“Gen Kayihura was one of those special cadres in the early 1990s who inspired us to serve our nation. Others were late Generals Mayombo and [James] Kazini. If he made mistakes, let us use revolutionary methods of work to rectify them. I request the CIC (commander-in-chief) to forgive and rehabilitate him,” Muhoozi posted on social media.

First Son and presidential advisor Gen Muhoozi Kainerugaba. 

Whereas the charges for which he faces a maximum penalty of death on conviction have never been dropped, Gen Kayihura, who has since been lined up for discharge from the army, is said to be happy about recent developments.

“Gen Kayihura believes that so many lies were told about him, but he is happy that the truth is coming out,” one of our sources revealed.

Bakaleke, Baroza bed in
Early this year, another of Gen Kayihura’s hatchet men, ACP Bakaleke returned. ACP Bakaleke fled the country in 2018 following his suspension to allow for investigations into the alleged theft of Shs1.4 billion from two Korean nationals, Park Seunghoon and Jang Shingu Un.

Mr Bakaleke, who was also being investigated for wrongful arrest and confinement of his victims, showed up at police headquarters in Naguru with a “redeployment” request.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Information Communication Technology and National Guidance minister, insists that the return of the two cannot be compared.

“Bakaleke fled under very different circumstances. The charges against him were not linked to General Kayihura in any way. Those were individual criminal activities,” Dr Baryomunsi said. Monitor could not establish exactly when ACP Baroza, who had once worked as Gen Kayihura’s personal assistant, returned to Uganda.

Mr Baroza, who was said to have been under investigation for “inappropriate espionage and other serious crimes” and was also heavily linked to the death of Andrew Felix Kaweesi, a charge which he often denied, left his duty station at the African Union Mechanism for Police Cooperation (AFRIPOL) Secretariat in Algeria on July 18, 2019 and never returned.

Where he hid for more than five years remains a mystery, but he is known to have returned to Uganda last year. He was a guest at the wedding of Mr Nixon Agasirwe last December.


The return of the trio and the release much earlier of his former proteges now means that most if not all of Gen Kayihura’s hatchet men are out and about.

The list of those who are out includes Lt Col Peter Musherure, former aide in the office of Inspector General of Police; Herbert Muhangi, former Flying Squad commander; Richard Ndaboine, a Senior Superintendent of Police and former head of Cyber-Crime; and Col Ndahura Atwooki, the former Director of Crime Intelligence in police.

Others are Nixon Agasirwe; Mr Joel Aguma, the former commandant of Police Professional Standards Unit; Assistant Inspector of Police Benon Atwebembeire; Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada; D/Cpl Amon Kwarisiima attached to Crime Intelligence; Sgt Abel Tumukunde; and SPC Faisal Katende, both formerly attached to the Police Flying Squad; Abdullah Kitatta, the Patron of Boda 2010, and his brother Huzair Kiwalabye.

Flying Squad Unit police officers perform drills at Nakasongola military Cantonment in August 2016. Photo/ File

The charges against some of the General’s proteges, just like those against him, have never been dropped. This has invited observers into hazarding guesses about the rehabilitation and possible reintegration of Gen Kayihura’s hatchet men.

Dr Chris Baryomunsi, the Information Communication Technology and National Guidance minister, could not commit himself on the matter.

“I would not know whether it is part of the process of rehabilitating them. It is hard to second guess the President,” Dr Baryomunsi said, adding, “If General Kayihura has been lined up for discharge from the army, it should be an indicator that he is in the process of being reintegrated.”