June 16, 2018 – A monitor journalist wants President Museveni to apologise to Ugandans over the torture and harassment meted out on them by disgraced former Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura.
In a lengthy post on social media, Mr Eriasa Mukiibi Sserunjogi discusses Kayihura’s various failings and Museveni’s indifference to them as the appointing authority.
Below, we reproduce Mr. Mukiibi’s unedited post in full:
Why Museveni should apologise over Kayihura
Gen Edward Kale Kayihura is under arrest. It is expected that the string of questions he has to answer is so long and complex that he nearly certainly can’t have all the answers. It will in the end be up to President Museveni to decide what Kale will be charged with, or whether he will be charged at all.
When Museveni finally sacked Kale as police boss in March, I posted an article on this platform under the headline, “But why did we end up with Kayihura for 12 years?”
Kale was not qualified to lead our police force or any public institution. A number of people in Government and Security do agree with me on this one. I once asked a gentleman who is close to power why Museveni kept Kale as police boss for that long. In answer, the gentleman told me that during meetings with the President, some top Security officers had complained about Kale and even suggested to the President that the police chief be relieved of his duties. But the President, I was told, would always retort that he was prepared to sack Kale if someone that could do what Kale did emerged.
Of course you now know what the President meant. It was about holding Kizza Besigye at bay, often using extra-legal means. Kale had done his homework and noticed that Museveni needed someone he would rely on to stave off the challenge from his most enduring political opponent. He devised a plan to foil Besigye.
Needless to say, the plan to stop Besigye came with a huge budget. Kale had to strategically place fifth columnists close to Besigye and within the wider Opposition. He also had to enlist an army of journalists, commentators and other groups, including unemployed youth, for the same purpose. This he did fairly successfully. He then equipped the police to better levels than it had ever been under Museveni, and swelled its ranks with ill-trained and ideologically skewed but effective fighters against Besigye.
Kale’s efforts were momentarily diverted when Amama Mbabazi emerged as a force against Museveni in the run-up to the 2016 general election, but soon enough he returned to his primary duty of fighting Besigye.
On several occasions, President Museveni publicly voiced his approval of Kale’s work methods and praised him as a “good cadre”. By that time Kale had distinguished himself as the second most important politician within the ruling party, easily eclipsing the vice president, prime minister, secretary general or any minister. If something required the President to intervene, perhaps the shortest route to the Chief Politician was through Kale.
Kale and the policemen he patronised, like Siraje Bakaleke, freely and openly did NRM or Museveni politics, contrary to their calling as policemen. They did more illegal things like holding opposition politicians without charge, using lethal force against peaceful protesters and attacking and taking charge of headquarters of political parties (DP and FDC). An aggrieved citizen once dragged Kale to court and a magistrate at Makindye court summoned the police chief. A pro-Kale gang responded by invading the court on the appointed day and holding the magistrate and lawyers captive for hours. The magistrate died months later.
When the late businessman Nsenga’s widow was charged with the murder of her husband, war broke out between the police and the Directorate of Public Prosecutions. Kale was said to be protecting his relative from prosecution but the former DPP Buteera stuck to his guns and the widow was convicted of murder even after Musana, a deputy director of CID, took the unprecedented step of testifying against the State in the case.
Many people were arrested and charged in court with crimes they did not commit. It was worse if those people were Muslims. The other week the DPP lost interest in a case involving a woman and her three brothers who Kayihura claimed were working with the Australia-based Dr Aggrey Kiyingi to overthrow the government. The moment Kiyingi said he would contest in the 2016 presidential elections, Kayihura pronounced him a terrorist and arrested his associates. They stayed in jail since 2014, during which time the woman lost her house in Muyenga.
There are many such cases of people who were arrested without conclusive investigations and ended up in jail for years, their lives ruined, and then suddenly released to go back to their lives as if nothing happened. Once a crime was committed or Kale imagined one had been committed, he would nearly immediately come up with suspects. He would have you believe that ADF is the most effective terror organisation in the world, always managing to commit crimes in our fair country. The police under Kale, in equal measure, nearly always managed to arrest or pinpoint the offenders even though we very rarely had them convicted in court. Think of the Muslim men arrested over killing Kaweesi.
I have in the past written about how Kale undermined the police’s capacity to detect or investigate crimes. CID under Grace Akullo was rendered redundant as Kale created parallel units often led by officers with questionable integrity who have been accused of extorting from members of the public, covering up crimes and committing crimes themselves.
I’ll stop there because we can’t exhaust Kale’s sins against Ugandans. But it is instructive that as all this happened, President Museveni publicly extolled Kale especially because Kale remained fairly effective on the political front.
It is possible that because Kale got away with all that, and became very rich in the process, an idea crossed his mind — why not? He is in his early 60s and Museveni is in his 70s, having already done 32 years in power. Perhaps Kale dreamt when he had put on his master’s Crown and the master got to know of the satanic dream, turning him against one of his best servants of all time. But did we have to first get to that?
This day, after the budget is read, Museveni will address the country. I hope he will find it in his heart to look me in the eye on television and apologise over Kale. For most of the over 12 years Kale was in charge of our police, we deserved better. And Museveni always had the power to change things but he didn’t.