Kayihura should not be judged by the abuses by his officers but what he did about it. Keen to improve police conduct and image, he created the Professional Standards Unit (to hold officers who violated professional ethics accountable) and a Directorate of Human Rights and Legal Services (to receive complaints from the public on police violations of human rights). Under Kayihura as IGP, I went to jail many times and not once was I tortured.
Instead it was the U.S. government that was complicit with Uganda’s Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) in torture. The Independent newsmagazine investigation in 2008 found the CIA and CMI jointly ran an illegal detention facility at Summit View in Kololo where they tortured prisoners. CMI would arrest people, especially young Somali men transiting through Entebbe and give their names to the U.S. embassy in Kampala. The embassy would send them to Washington DC where if found on the list of suspected terrorists would be taken to God-knows-where.
We penetrated this facility and had inmates smuggle information to us. We interviewed those who had survived the torture and later got released or escaped. Uganda was not the only country where the USA outsourced torture. Across the world, the USA would directly or through proxies kidnap (euphemistically calling it “rendition”) young Muslim men and take them to third countries. There, under supervision of CIA officials, suspects would be tortured (euphemistically called “enhanced interrogation methods”).
I used to be a blind and naïve admirer of America’s human rights record. These findings led me on the road to Damascus. I began to read books about internal politics and external relations of America. What I found was depressing but also illuminating. I have previously written about the gross violations of human rights by police departments in America that I do not need to repeat here. Suffice it to say that the U.S. lacks moral authority to castigate others for human rights abuses.
Kayihura’s offense was to use police against political opponents of government. But police never tortured political prisoners. Even Dr. Kizza Besigye is witness. Accusations of torture were raised on terror suspects at Nalufenya; a job Kayihura did with the FBI. The U.S. Justice Department even awarded him a medal in 2017 for this. The Uganda Human Rights Commission and the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights visited Nalufenya and interacted with prisoners and found no evidence of torture.
Something else motivated America to sanction Kayihura. Next week, I will demonstrate that America uses human rights as an ideological weapon to disguise her selfish intentions by pretending to be altruistic.