Why Museveni sacked ISO boss Kaka, deputy

Friday October 09 2020

Col Kaka Bagyenda

By Andrew Bagala

For almost a year, the appointing authority kept Col Kaka Bagyenda, the now sacked director of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO), on the edge of his seat.

Col Bagyenda’s three-year contract expired in December 2019 but the President kept him in the office as he quietly investigated what highly placed sources called “a string of complaints” brought against him and his allies within the internal security circles.
Mr Museveni yesterday sacked Col Bagyenda and replaced him with Lt Col Charles Oluka.

Military sources said the President also replaced Col Bagyenda’s deputy Don Mugimba with Lt Emmy Katabazi.
Lt Col Oluka was the former director-in-charge of technical services at ISO before he was suspended by Col Kaka in 2018. He has been one of the longest serving officers at ISO with more than 10 years.

Col Kaka was appointed the ISO boss in January 2017.
The spokesperson of the President, Mr Don Wanyama, could not comment on the matter and referred us to the security agencies.

Last stroke
But the last straw that broke Col Bagyenda’s back was the arrest of ISO operatives by Special Forces Command (SFC) and Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI). SFC and CMI would later raid ISO safe houses in Kyengera and Kisaasi, two Kampala suburbs, and this, according to sources, made Col Bagyenda desperate. 

The two sister security agencies were looking for a university student who had allegedly been kidnapped by ISO operatives. Members of Parliament were also blocked from visiting the safe houses amid allegations of torture and gross human rights abuses.


Key scandals
The President got concerned after he received several intelligence reports on the bad elements in ISO and allegations of fictitious intelligence reports.  ISO is mandated to detect, prevent and curtail enemy subversive activities but the President noted glaring weaknesses the source did not not disclose. 

Without delving into the specifics, another source linked the changes at ISO to the Kyambogo bullion van robbery of April 2019. ISO insisted that the money in the van was Shs2.4b and that Shs617m had been stolen by the thugs.

The ISO operatives were also accused of carrying out human right abuses, including arbitrary arrests of people and detaining them at an island in Lake Victoria for months.

His hiring and arming of Paddy Sserunjoji ,alias Sobi, a self-confessed criminal, raised eyebrows among members of the public.

The director of ISO’s ICT department, Mr Simon Peter Odongo, was accused of framing former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura that he ordered in the killing of Andrew Felix Kaweesi.

The joint security investigation into the death of Kaweesi found out that the information that ISO shared about Gen Kayihura was false. They later recommended that Mr Odongo be arrested and charged with giving false information to public officers. This never happened.

In May 2020, Mr Odongo was arrested by military personnel on allegations of disrupting UPDF operations. He later petitioned the court for his long detention and was awarded Shs250m.
Col Bagyenda succeeded Brig Ronnie Balya.