It is said that prior to his vetting, Kayihura had been trying hard to counter Tumukunde’s moves although it is not clear whether he is the one who alerted the President about his alleged misinformation.
Insider sources say before the meeting with the vetting committee, Kayihura spent three days calling, meeting and convincing legislators to give him a nod. Sources say the anti-Kayihura lobby had started the day it became public on March 14 that President Museveni had written to Speaker Kadaga to vet Kayihura for contract renewal.
The president’s letter came after his “trusted emissary” met and vetted Kayihura. It appears the emissary gave Kayihura a clean bill of health.
Before the emissary cleared Kayihura, a heavy cloud was hanging over his contract renewal as the President appeared convinced by intelligence reports that the police boss harbours presidential ambitions and was ready to break ranks with an announcement at a hotel in Mbarara, western Uganda.
Whoever was behind the intelligence claimed that having realised that he was about to get fired, Kayihura had hatched a surprise move to protect himself in case President Museveni attempted to contain him. The assumption is that if one declares a presidential bid, they gain immunity as official challengers to Museveni. Opposition leader, Kizza Besigye, sprung a similar surprise on Museveni in 2000. So did former Premier Amama Mbabazi in 2015.
In both cases Museveni had ignored intelligence similar to what was being peddled on Kayihura.
In this case, however, a lot of things did not make sense—Kayihura’s contract had not yet expired, he had on Jan.18, applied for contract renewal and the next election was four years away.
Nevertheless, the evidence attached to the intelligence appeared hard to ignore. Intelligence agents had brought printed T-shirts and flyers announcing Kayihura’s presidency. Operatives claimed this is what the police chief intended to use to launch his bid.
President Museveni had been severally warned that Kayihura had 11 million crime preventers (Kayihura’s figures), he intended to use as the most effective campaign machine.
Apparently, Kayihura had cemented their loyalty to him by extending them contracts to supply food and other items to police. The group, Kayihura’s critics told the president, was a massive patronage network for the police chief.
The president was also told that the group was behind a new wave of crime across the country – and Kayihura was helpless to stop them since he was dependent on them.
But Kayihura’s handlers, on the other end, claimed that it is elements who did not want his contract renewed who were sponsoring the crime wave– to show him as a failure.
Kayihura’s handlers also argued that giving crime preventers a contract or two was intended to give them opportunities because leaving such a trained group unemployed could be a harbinger for insecurity.
For insiders, the first indication that President Museveni had bought the intelligence against Kayihura was that he did not call the police chief to ask him about it. Normally, he would have called him. But the clearest indication was the panic within State House. The Special Forces Command was reportedly put on standby and deployed. Other covert intelligence organisations like the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) operatives had also already deployed at the hotel.
But then, just hours to the alleged Kayihura announcement and as SFC soldiers were readying to take positions at the hotel, they were recalled. Museveni had apparently received information that allegations that Kayihura intended to launch a presidential bid were fabricated.