Loyal cadre rewarded
For the President, however, amidst all the accusations against Kayihura is the indisputable fact that he has transformed the force beyond what Museveni once said was a force that would rather vote for a jerrycan than for him.
Since Kayihura replaced Gen Katumba Wamala as police boss in 2005, he has restructured the force into a pro-Museveni institution.
Observers say Museveni was not about to ditch Kayihura, who is now 61, and has for the most of the last 12 years, staked his neck to keep him in power. Museveni showed his appreciation when he once described Kayihura as a loyal cadre.
That appears to be the main reason why Museveni pushed to ensure Kayihura gets an additional three years. Kayihura has now got until 2020 which, critics say, is an opportunity for him to set the stage for 2021, the year when, if he chooses to stay on, President Museveni will again be seeking re-election.
So as vitriol against Kayihura increased in the run-up to the vetting, Museveni ordered an investigation into Tumukunde’s hand in it trying to block him. Specifically, the President had received information that an anti-Kayihura lobby group, led by Tumukunde, had been peddling misinformation that although he had nominated Kayihura, he did not want him approved by parliament.
On May 08, according to sources, Museveni called some members of the parliamentary Appointments Committee over Kayihura’s contract. On the morning of May.9, the same day the committee was set to vet Kayihura, the President rounded off his calls with a talk to Speaker Rebecca Kadaga who chairs the committee. The Independent could not establish exactly what the president told Kadaga or the other committee members as they all remain tight-lipped.
Committee members like Gen. Elly Tumwine, flatly denied Museveni called the committee. “I am not aware of that,” Tumwine said and launched into explanations of procedure.
“Who said he has been approved?” Tumwine said, “There are three stages of appointment. The President nominates, then an official is vetted and the committee of parliament makes recommendations, which are then submitted to the appointing authority who makes the final decision. So for us we make recommendations and that is what we tell these people. We tell them that we are not the final decision makers.
“You are writing fabricated stories that generals are fighting to spread fear in the public. This is tantamount to terrorism and you will be held accountable,” he said.
Another member of the committee, legislator Joseph Sewungu, said he was not aware about the president calling any members on the committee and said parliamentary rules of procedures do not allow him explain their decision.
“But you should know that in cases like these, NRM members usually approve,” he told The Independent. The 24 member committee has 15 NRM, three independent MPs, three FDC, one DP and one UPC.
Without clear explanations of the approval process, the heated cabinet meeting is being seen as the main signal of Museveni strong backing for Kayihura and the dimming fortunes of Tumukunde.