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America’s human rights imperialism


Gen. Kale Kayihura (left) giving his side of the story to the media at Naguru when he was still in charge. PHOTO via @nbstv

How US government sanctions against Kayihura are a toxic mixture of ignorance, prejudice and hypocrisy

THE LAST WORD | ANDREW M. MWENDA | And so the United States Department of State has sanctioned Uganda’s former Inspector General of Police, Kale Kayihura. Henceforth, he, his children and wife will not be allowed to travel to the United States, own property there, hold a bank account in that great country or transact business with its banks. Of course we acknowledge this to be the sovereign right of this great power. Yet we lesser humans have to bear the risk of criticising the almighty.

According to a statement issued by the State Department, this is because Kayihura (while IGP) indulged in gross abuse of human rights, corruption (using bribery to strengthen his political position within the government of Uganda and stealing funds meant for official Ugandan government) and using another employee to smuggle illicit goods, including drugs, gold and wild life out of Uganda. The accusations of corruption and smuggling are ridiculous.

We always assume that the U.S. government relies on sound investigations and research to arrive at findings. Yet this is not often true. Western governments are meticulous while working on matters internal to their countries. But when it comes to Africa (or inside America when dealing with black people), they rely on rumour, hearsay, gossip and racial prejudice to arrive at conclusions. African elites dealing with Africa are also prone to this.

Any casual investigation would find Kayihura among the most honest public officials in Uganda. This is especially inspiring because he wielded enormous power serving in a government where many public officials are corrupt – they drive fancy cars, live in sprawling mansions and own vast assets. Kayihura had immense opportunities to become one of the richest persons in Uganda because of the job he held, the power he wielded and the resources he directed.

For instance, he had access to large sums of classified funds, which he could use at his pleasure. Under him, the police budget grew from Shs88 billion to Shs500 billion. Kayihura was directing large procurement of police equipment and other supplies from which he could have taken huge commissions. This would have tempted even the most pious public official, not Kayihura.

Upon leaving office, he did not even own a house in Kampala in which to live. When fired, police stopped paying his rent worth $2,000 per month and Kayihura began defaulting. Friends intervened to help raise the rent and I was personally involved. When he was IGP, some of his close staff suggested to him (severally) that they use his monthly rent allowance to buy him the house in which he lived. He treated even such suggestion with contempt as corruption.

Yet Kampala’s busy tongue where slander and gossip seem essential to our democracy kept claiming that Kayihura is very rich with many assets. This was largely because they were projecting their character on him i.e. if they had the power he wielded and the resources he commanded they would have used it to enrich themselves.

Today Kayihura stays at his farm in Lyantonde, which he bought in 1990. There he lives in a little makeshift house. To keep presence in Kampala, friends helped raise money to put a deposit on a mortgage on a house. He has since been having problems serving the mortgage. It is therefore absurd that the United States, which should honour him for honesty, is the one sanctioning him on ridiculous allegations of corruption and smuggling.

This brings me to the allegations of human rights abuse. Under Kayihura, there were many allegations of human rights abuse by the police. It is possible many of these allegations were true. Few police forces in the world can avoid this as Americans themselves can testify. Every 28 hours a black man in America is shot dead by police. In nearly all the cases, the police officers walk scot-free. Where they are taken to a grand jury, accused officers are often acquitted.


  1. IN defending KK, regardless of whatever personal relation he has with M9, M9 is not defending KK perse.

    Whatever KK did, if anything, and whatever crimes he committed were committed in his capacity as the IGP and these orders came way above him.

    SO effectively M9 is defending M7, if we are to follow the Americans when they say ” the buck stops with me/you”

  2. Andrew, Andrew, Andrew Mwenda, now-a-days he defends anything and everything that is going wrong with this country, our dictator Museveni and/or his agents/handlers. I get the impression that because he has big mouth and a publication, Andrew Mwenda might be one of and/or agents of our wrongdoers, deployed at a fee. to sanitize and defend big-time wrongdoers.

    For instance that: Gen Kayihura is such a pauper whereby, it is now friends/sympathizers who helped to raise money to put a deposit on a mortgage on a house for Gen Kayihura, which “he has since been having problems serving the mortgage.” is laughable.

    Unless he is paid for it, why doesn’t Andrew leave wrongdoers to defend themselves?

  3. Reading this article, one gets the impression that the US government, out of racism and laziness, is targeting an innocent man.

    One would never guess that Kayihura is actually facing criminal charges in Uganda.

  4. UNLESS KK is not as bright as he would want people to believe, he should have known that this was coming – it was just a matter of that commodity -TIME.

    Much greater men , among them SADDAM , MOBUTU; people with whom AMERICA had “killed” the proverbial “mukago” , were dispensed with when they outlived their usefulness.

    KK was/is the so much talked about thief, who passes another thief being lynched, and throws in a stone for good measure and berets the other thief for bringing to shame the profession and brags that the same can never happen to him, because he is that much smarter.

    While he was doing the dirty work for and with the AMERICANS he stupidly fancied himself and thought that he was an equal with them and that nothing would happen to him. The reason he went ahead and did terrible things, thinking that he had the “dirty” on them and they would sink together.

    NOW even your boss will leave you out to dry, your children family and friends are going to suffer because of your deeds.

  5. Whɑts up aге using Wordprеss for your site platform? I’m new to the blog world bbut I’m trying to get started ɑnd set up my own. Do
    you need anyy html coding expertise to make your ᧐own blog?
    Any help wouⅼd be really appreciated!

    • Hi there.

      You do not need any coding skills if you are going to use WordPress.
      What you need to do, is registering a domain and a host.
      You have to get a package which will be convenient to have a database.

  6. Muwanga the Ugandan

    Today I agree with Mwenda on the point of the USA lacking moral authority to investigate or punish anyone anywhere in the world for human rights abuses. Please understand that I believe KK committed certain offenses that he should answer for. But on our terms and not American terms.

    The main reason why I believe America should stay out of the human rights cases in the world is; this same state department (of America) cancelled the travel visa for the ICC prosecutor about a month ago because she launched investigations of human rights abuse in Abu Ghraib prison by US soldiers. Trump and his team said via twitter that US soldiers will not be touched. They were so determined to protect these criminals that they threatened the ICC. So a country that protects people that commit human rights abuses had better shut up and let others that actually care to deal with such cases. The torture victims will never see justice thanks to the US govt protecting the torturers.

    And we as Ugandans should understand that if this colonialism (neo-colonialism is only a term used to confuse us all) is to end, we must be ready to deal with our own challenges and not wait for America to come and play “big brother”. So Kayihura should be dealt with but by us and not those American pretenders.

    • “Muwanga the Ugandan”, don’t deal with Kayihura for he was a mere messenger. You should deal with his boss for whom he dedicatedly worked; and I wish you lots of luck as you go about it!
      Remember, his boss as stubborn as a mule and he was groomed by Uncle Sam.

      (Psst: don’t hesitate to ask for outside help along the way; you may need it!!).

  7. I have said this before and i will say it again. It is appalling and disgusting to see some of the comments. Africans and especially ugandans in particular would give away their own. I don’t condone, but Kayihura was doing a very difficult Job. Policing uganda is a nightmare. Was it OK to leave Criminal roam the city unchallenged. Uganda has had a difficult history with criminality because of frequently changing governments. Criminal have alway liked it when government change. Gen. Kale Kayihura was an obstacle, the criminal gangs in Kampala didn’t want security to get in their way

    Remember Blair and Bush are running FREE after their armies killing 1,000,000 in Iraq. Can Uganda or the UN sanction them for human right violations in Iraq War? Let Africans especially ugandans start discovering themselves. ANDREW M. MWENDA is right to condemn unbalanced USA

    • But Wanjala, two wrongs do not make a right. If Gen Kayihura chose to do the difficult job of containing wrong doers, it does not mean he had also to become a wrongdoer. And mark you, by supporting Andrew Mwenda arguments, you risk being bundle under the umbrella of the wrongdoers who are encouraging impunity; especially human rights violations.

  8. I once read a book ” But who prays for Satan ?”. It’s quite tempting to substitute that for ” but who sanctions America?”. I honestly don’t believe that weilding the power to sanction necessarily makes you right. Kale did commit crimes, no doubt, and so do American military personnel. What happened when the chief prosecutor tried to open a can of worms as regards human rights abuses committed by American troops? Come on State department, kale is dirty but your duplicity makes him clean.

  9. Good analysis

  10. “Powers from above”a.k.a “Powers from M7”

  11. In the 1600’s a priest like John Gerald and Ann Askew a poet were tortured at the Tower of London in the name of Religion,in USA Guantanamo bay is known for torturing hard core criminals what does this say about torture under different governments?Some torture because some elements in society are just out of order but for Uganda’s case; incidences of torture were unheard of not until muslim clerics and prominent Ugandans began being assassinated and of course the behavior of people power followers at times deserves a slap or two.

    The admissibility of Cases concerning political disagreements are normally difficult to present because the key witnesses are not normally credible they tend to retract their statements a good example is the Kenyatta ‘s case at ICC.

    Rajab is the one who is good at cramming peoples’s age how old is Kayihura?Its difficult to believe that Kayihura is a poor man because most westerners in Uganda are know for living large and dipping their hands in the till may be if he was in the same age bracket like Adhola i would believe that he is not taken up by earthy possessions.

    Most of the 1st world embassies in Uganda are located in Nakasero,Bugolobi and Kololo where you are greeted with nice aroma of food and the scent of the queen of the night fills the air at night.

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