Museveni orders CMI out of Entebbe Airport

A policewoman salutes President Museveni in Kabalye Police Training School in Masindi District on November 15, 2023. Museveni passed out 2,717 police and immigration officers during the function. PHOTO/HANDOUT

What you need to know:

  • CMI has been carrying out joint operations at the airport. In some incidents, CMI operatives have been accused of carrying out illegal arrests.

President Museveni yesterday issued new aviation guidelines in which he ordered the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) operatives out of the Entebbe International Airport.

President Museveni explained that the CMI work was to carry out counterintelligence and they have no business at the airport.

“I have discovered that my instructions were never carried out… All these wonderful people. I think [ Major General Abel Kandiho] [and] [Brig Charles] Bakahumura. I wanted to find out what CMI is doing at the airport?” the President asked.

He asked again: “I said airport [security] should be for Immigration and police. What is CMI doing at the airport? Are they flight controllers or what?  I told Bakahumura and the other fellow. CMI, what are they doing at the airport?” 

The President, who is also the Commander-in-Chief, pressed senior military officers including Maj Gen Leopold Kyanda, the Joint Chief of Staff of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces to explain why his order was not implemented.

Maj Gen Kyanda tried to respond but the President was not convinced. 

Kyanda had told the President that CMI comes in for counter-terrorism operations; to detect such suspects coming in the country.

President Museveni was yesterday officiating at pass-out of 2,717 police constables and immigration officers at Police Training School Kabalye in Masindi District. 

Mr Museveni clarified that CMI should spy on foreign armies and carry out counterintelligence within the army to ensure that there is no subversion.

“If there is counter insurgency [intelligence work it] is mainly in the bush not in the airport. You don’t have to be there. You can work with sister agencies. I don’t like it,” he said.

CMI has been carrying out joint operations at the airport. In some incidents, CMI operatives have been accused of carrying out illegal arrests and engaging in suspicious activity within the airport premises.

During the Covid lockdown, CMI operatives were accused by American gold buyers of stealing their gold worth billions of shillings. A Rwandan refugee, Robert Mukombozi was also arrested at the airport allegedly by CMI as he entered the country before he was deported.

The President said he was also tired of use of archaic search methods at the airport and other security checkpoints.
“Can’t we have a more civil method of searching people instead of touching people’s stomachs? Because the dangers are two: either guns or knives, which are metallic and can be detected by metal detector or explosives, which can be detected by explosive detectors or canines. 

“So, Maj Gen Gowa, this business of touching women’s breasts [must stop]. Why can’t you have something better? Because breasts are private property, remember? I don’t think this is a good idea to touch people. It should be stopped completely,” President Museveni said.