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Gen. Kayihura: man in the storm

By Freddie B.Kwiringira

His current role should be assessed from his privileged background, training, calling, profession and history

The obtaining situation in Uganda makes this a very touchy issue. The Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, is a man at the centre of national contest after a very rigorous election that has divided the population. The Electoral Commission, under the leadership of Badru Kiggundu, exacerbated the situation through by its reckless mistakes and ineptness. There is a crisis of confidence and mistrust by the stakeholders of the impartiality of EC and Uganda police under the indomitable Kayihura.

Gen. Kayihura has been at the helm of Uganda police for over a decade. The police force is better than what he inherited in efficiency, skills, and discipline. Yet the opposition believes police is partisan, corrupt and brutal. It is a vicious debate. The President, Gen. Yoweri Museveni, is impressed with police under Gen. Kayihura. This is different from the past when he used to accuse police of incompetence and poor work ethic allegedly inherited from past-president Milton Obote and colonial rulers.

But how will history remember Gen. Kayihura and his contribution to Uganda and humanity?  Churches have prayed for him, opposition has condemned him, international community have pressed for his restraint, presidential candidates have questioned his neutrality, old guards in police have accused him of ignoring them preferring young blood, and he is in running battles with the media. This is an attempt to get a synoptic perspective of the man in the eye of the storm.

Gen. Kayihura should be assessed from his privileged background, training, calling, profession and history. Gen. Kayihura is a son to a Pan Africanist John K. Kalekyezi and Catherine Nyamihana Mukarwamo. Kayihura’s father was one of the instrumental Africans who fought for Uganda’s independence. He died in a plane crash in Ukraine in 1961 in what was suspected to be an assassination by imperialists. Born in December in 1960 in Bufumbira, Kigezi currently Kisoro District, Kayihura studied at Kagera primary school, Mutolere, Buhinga Primary, Fort Portal, Toro, St. Paul’s Seminary Mutolere for O’ levels where he emerged among the best in East Africa joining St. Mary’s Kisubi for A’ levels. He joined Makerere University obtaining Bachelor of Laws (LLB). He was also a chairman of Mitchell Hall. He enrolled at the prestigious London School of Economics (LSE) for his Masters in Laws. He was slated to join Ibadan University as a lecturer or join UN as a junior staff.

He chose what surprised his family when he joined the bush struggle in Luweero triangle in 1982. The rest is history.

The earlier intention of his family was to have Kayihura become a priest, but the revolutionary DNA of his father led him to pursue a different path which made him drop his Christian name Edward after the university. Kayihura was brought up by his maternal grandmother Kaka Sophia Nyamihana; a wife to Mzee Nyamihana who was the first colonial Gomborola chief of Bufumbira, and very catholic. His paternal grandfather, Rwanyonga, was a very influential person in Bufumbira, Kigezi. After ordinary level, his uncles Justice Joseph Nyamihana Mulenga, a former judge and minister and Frank K. Gasasira, a former Permanent Secretary for Local Government, took him up.

It is with this background of priesthood and care of great men that Kayihura began his early life. He is married to Angella with two youthful children.

With Gen. Museveni’s 30 years in power and continuing becoming a source of agitation and despondency, it is ironical that Kayihura is at the centre of controversy and accusations of dictatorial tendencies and obstruction of liberty. He is unpopular about his continued surveillance, restrictions of Col. Dr. Beisgye’s movements. Kayihura accuses Besigye of intransigence, defiance of the laws of the land.

Gen. Kayihura is now under pressure from some quarters believing he epitomises brutality and regime survival. There are threats to take him to ICC.  Kayihura is adamant and resolved.   He says he is carrying out his duty and mandate. Kayihura asserts he is a nationalist. Kayihura’s admirers attest to his astuteness, leadership, selflessness, courage and stellar performance.

He played significant role since the Luweero days, started Tarehe Sita magazine, Wazalendo Sacco, fought in Ituri Congo, headed SRPS-URA, was a military assistant to the President, was in the Constituent Assembly.

People close to Kayihura regard him as extremely disciplined, focused, workaholic, intelligent, kind, and humane. Some sections of media, NRM Stalwarts think he can make a great president after Gen. Museveni, though this might be farfetched. Kayihura is not a member, nor is blood relative of first family which thinks presidency is their preserve. Anybody who has attempted has ended badly. Time will tell.

Does Kayihura have any personal vendetta against Besigye, a comrade? Kayihura is serving his master, and country. Kayihura is also a personal friend to Ms. Winnie K. Byanyima since her days at St. Mary’s Namagunga when he was at St. Mary’s College Kisubi. She was very close to Kayihura’s cousin late Florence Rugamba Nkera who died in Malaysia in 2000. Winnie escorted the body and spent three days in Nyakabande, Kisoro at Kayihura’s home.

Kayihura has visited Dr. Besigye’s home in Kasangati and shared a cup of tea with Winnie and family. Would these be signs of hatred?

Let History and gods rate Kayihura’s legacy independently.


Freddie, CEO, Global Divine Ventures (GDV)

Email: [email protected]

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