Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT & AFP | President Yoweri Museveni has fired Police chief General Kale Kayihura and Security Minister Lt.Gen. Henry Tumukunde.
Museveni has now appointed General Elly Tumwine, a former army commander, as Security Minister and Okoth Ochola as the Inspector General of Police. Ochola will be deputised by Brigadier Sabiiti Muzeei.
While Ochola is a seasoned policeman, and has been Kayihura’s deputy, Sabiiti Muzeei has been commander of the Military Police. He was until early last year deputy at the elite Special Forces Command (SFC).
In a statement on Twitter on Sunday 4th March, Uganda’s president Museveni said, “In exercise of the powers granted to me by the Constitution, I have appointed General Elly Tumwine as the Security Minister. I have also appointed Mr Okoth Ochola as the Inspector General of Police. He will be deputised by Brigadier Sabiiti Muzeei.”
Uganda’s security situation has been an issue of debate since this year started, with reports indicating Kayihura and Tumukunde were pulling in different directions. (see related story at bottom)
The death of at least four foreigners last month and the murder of a cashier Suzan Magara last week put crime and security in the spotlight. President Museveni was even directly involved in the futile attempt to rescue Magara.
Kayihura has been at the helm of police since 2005, and had only last year had his contract renewed for another three years while Tumukunde has not lasted two years, having bounced back as Security Minister in June 2016.
His tenure as police chief was characterised by the proliferation of military-style units in the force and an increase in the perceived politicalisation of the police.
Since the March 2017 assassination of Felix Kaweesi — a senior policeman who had been viewed as his potential successor — Kayihura has come under pressure for failing to curb growing insecurity.
At least 23 women have been killed in unsolved murders around the capital, there has been a spate of deaths of foreign nationals and last week a woman from an influential family was killed after being held captive for three-weeks by kidnappers demanding a huge ransom.
The rising insecurity further discredited a police force widely viewed by the public to be incompetent and corrupt.
In the aftermath of Kaweesi’s assassination — which remains unsolved — Museveni said “criminals have infiltrated the police” and ordered Kayihura to “clean the police.”
Nevertheless, in May 2017 Kayihura’s contract was renewed.
Since then a rival security body — the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) — has made several high profile arrests of senior policemen viewed as being close to Kayihura who are accused of corruption and torture as well as gangsters who have admitted working with the police.
Tumukunde critical of police failings
Tumukunde and Kayihura have been engaged in a public tussle for over 15 years, the latest being criticism by the minister of police failings in fighting crime.
Both men are veterans of the NRA Bush War in the eighties which brought Museveni to power
Tumukunde had previously fallen out with Museveni when, in 2003, he had opposed the removed of term limits. In 2005 he was forced to resign as an MP representing the army and was arrested after he violated army laws prohibiting serving officers from giving media interviews.
The man in command of the soldiers who arrested him was Kayihura.
By 2016 Tumukunde was rehabilitated and Museveni appointed him security minister.
ANALYSIS: Museveni, Tumukunde fight over Kayihura worsens https://t.co/0m2bIjfdfK pic.twitter.com/HaH8yZI2Ug
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) May 28, 2017
Betty Kamya, Nadduli and Tumukunde in new cabinet https://t.co/LyKOuZjiop pic.twitter.com/ajtgTKDOxg
— The Independent (@UGIndependent) June 6, 2016
I had talked of a “holiday” for the igp not firing. But that is a welcome gesture. Mark the word “gesture”
Let’s pray DAT we don’t get into a mess; any way congs 2 da new apooints.
I congratulate the President on it and it’s time for young people in security agency to restart to build a new image of leadership. I like very much the President appointment of IGP Okoth, to developing his deputy in command before he leaves office, saw the young what you know much about policing, law and security pass to him the knowledge so he can develop for new skills of fighting crime in developing countries like Uganda drug dealers to terrorism technique brother.
This kind of story demands investigative journalism because what you have written is already in the public domain. If one is to take this magazine seriously then you need to shape up by showing cause why for example it took long for the appointing authority to intervene or more still what was behind the curtain.