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The fall of Kayihura’s men

Nixon Agasirwe (left) at the General Court Martial

Last year, the situation appeared to get out of hand. When Assistant Inspector General of Police (AIGP) Andrew Felix Kaweesi was murdered in March, many pointed to rogue elements in police.

The president also noted that the police had been infiltrated by rogue elements and starting with the murder of Kaweesi, asked CMI to investigate crime.

In the same year, machete wielding gangs sent shock waves across central Uganda. When police carried out a sting, some of the suspects said they were working with police. As security officials were still grappling with this crisis, a spate of women murders also engulfed Kampala suburbs.

Critics say police did not only appear infiltrated, it appeared helpless.

To make matters worse for Kayihura, where police appeared to be failing, the military started delivering. Then the president assigned them to look into a complaint by UN officials about allegations that Rwandan operatives were kidnapping dissidents and taking them back to Rwanda.

These investigations climaxed into the arrest and trial of seven police officers before the General Court Martial (GCM) on Oct.27, 2017.

The seven included; Senior Superintendent of Police Nixon Agasirwe, the former commander Special Operations Unit, Senior Commissioner of Police Joel Aguma, the commandant of the police Professional Standards Unit, Assistant Superintendent of Police Magada, crime intelligence; Benon Atwebembeire, Sgt Abel Tumukunde, the Kampala Metropolitan Police flying squad commander, Faisal Katende, flying squad and Amon Kwarisima.

They were supposed to be 12 but five were yet to be netted, a source intimated. Jonathan Baroza, the former aide to Gen. Kayihura, was also targeted.

Apart from these police officers, the other two suspects were; a former Rwandan soldier, Rene Rutanungira, who has been living in Uganda and a Congolese national, Bahati Mugenga.

Reading from the charge sheet, Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti, who was appointed the Chairman of the General Court Martial last year, said the officers, around October 25, 2013, while in unlawful possession of firearms and grenades, ordinarily a monopoly of the Defence Forces, conveyed Joel Mutabazi a former presidential guard for Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Jackson Kalemera without their consent to Rwanda.

Since then, the arrest of Rwandans in Uganda has intensified with the military claiming it is investigating Rwandan operatives.

It is on the basis of this that some analysts say the fall of Kayihura has little to do with crime in Uganda but a lot to do with the deteriorating relations between Uganda and Rwanda.

The more these tensions have worsened, they claim, the more it has become inevitable to clip the powers of Kayihura.

There has always been suspicions against Kayihura whenever relations between Kampala and Kigali have soured. The IGP has confided to friends before that whenever Uganda and Rwanda are at loggerheads, Kampala accuses him of being a mole, Kigali of being a traitor. Kayihura has a strong connection with the Rwandan leadership at the highest level. President Kagame was Kayihura’s best man at the latter’s wedding. Kagame’s wife used to live at Kayihura’s home during the RPF struggle.

Those who peddle this view, claim that once Museveni was convinced that Kayihura was serving Rwanda’s interests, the IGP’s job became precarious, his long stay at his post untenable.

He instructed CMI to take over many police functions including arresting and detaining police officers accused of worked with Rwanda.

Being a loyal person to his subordinates who serve him loyally, insiders say, and knowing how much Kayihura has served him, Museveni has decided to clip his wings without firing him.

Thus, CMI and ISO have come and taken over most of the security work in Kampala and sidelined Kayihura and the police.

If Kayihura falls or is neutralized, some insiders claim, it will be because he had also become expendable. They claim that he will most likely be removed and humiliated but the strategies he employed will remain. A new group will fill the void of the old and its members will most certainly recruit from Boda Boda 2010 because their experience is invaluable.

But in this war with CMI and the regional tensions, insiders agree, Kayihura stands very little chance just as the vigilante groups he has supported.

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