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Kayihura’s fall

His enemies and the traps that got him

Kampala, Uganda | HAGGAI MATSIKO | When former Police Chief, Gen. Kale Kayihura will be charged, whether of murder, sabotage, espionage or any other of the crimes for which he is said to be facing investigation; his real crime will be that of threatening President YoweriMuseveni’s hold onto power.

This appears the conclusion by many informed sources regarding Kayihura’s fate. Details of Kayihura’s case are scanty because Museveni is handling it personally. Even when he spoke to a special session of parliament on security matters on June 20, it was difficult to read Museveni’s mind on Kayihura. For now, many sources The Independent has spoken to are basing on the interrogation of Kayihura by security officers and the circumstances leading to his firing on March 4 and eventual arrest on June 13.

The Independent has learnt that after months of investigations, the army attempted to spring a surprise on Kayihura – by appearing to arrest him following a directive by Museveni on June 12. This was after a meeting with security chiefs at State House, just days after the murder of former Arua Municipality legislator, Ibrahim Abiriga.

Abiriga’s murder appears to have deeply enraged President Museveni who sees it as a political assassination intended to hurt his ruling party—the National Resistance Movement (NRM).

Abiriga also joined high profile people killed by assassins including State prosecutor Joan Kagezi, UPDF’s Mohammad Kigundu and Assistant Inspector of General of Police (AIGP) Felix Kaweesi. They have all been killed in the same way; by assailants riding on motorbikes who way-laid them, showered their cars with bullets, and sped off. Museveni appears frustrated because for many years he had boasted about restoring security. He now appears helpless.

The Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) Gen. David Muhoozi, whose views appear to have gained more weight since the army took centre stage on political issues after Kayihura’s fall, also said the murders show a pattern of aiming “to instill fear, cause anxiety in the public and disaffection against government”.

While there are multiple theories, as to who is behind these murders, the dominant finger has pointed to elements working within or with collaboration with the police.

This view has been advanced by insiders in police and members of other security agencies; namely the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) and the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

According to this narrative, Kayihura is complicit for three reasons; the criminality within police cropped up over the 12 years he headed it, he personally hobnobbed with some of the suspects, and he appointed some of them to powerful positions in the force in total disregard of police structures and hierarchy.

Whatever the case, Abiriga’s slaying seems to have jolted the President and his security chiefs into action and Kayihura, who has been living under a shadow of suspicion and had not been redeployed since his March firing, proved an easy target.

How Kayihura was arrested

The circumstances surrounding the decision to arrest Kayihura speak volumes about his probable fate. He will be tortured and broken mentally and possibly humiliated.  Those who understand the inner workings of the military say the army leadership could have summoned Kayihura to Kampala and he would have come in voluntarily. But they chose to arrest him.

So, on June 12, without informing him, the army sent Deputy CDF Lt. Gen. Wilson Mbadi and the head of the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI) Brig. Abel Kandiho in a helicopter to arrest the former police chief from his home. But when their chopper landed at his farm house in Kashagama, Lyantonde district, Kayihura was not at home.

Frustrated soldiers from the Special Forces Command (SFC) which guards and acts on the orders of Musevenithen raided and searched Courtyard Hotel in Lyantode, where Kayihura has been a regular patron.They ransacked the hotel and grilled attendants about Kayihura’s whereabouts but they drew only blanks.

Apparently, Kayihura was at Mbarara Hospital, about 65kms away, attending to private issues. He reportedly only learnt of the UPDF soldiers and the helicopter searching for him late in the night. The element of surprise was lost.

The following morning, Kayihura reportedly called the CDF, Gen. Muhoozi and informed him that he was in Mbarara – if anybody wanted him.  So the CDF asked Kayihura to go to Makenke Barracks in Mbarara and drive to Kampala with Brig. MuhangaKayanja, who is the commander of UPDF 2ndDivision which covers Mbarara.

The CDF then called Kayanja and told him to expect Kayihura. But Kayihura instead reportedly called Kayanja and told him that he was driving back to his farm in Lyantonde and that Kayanja should find him there. Kayihura said he needed to go home and freshen up, having slept away from home.

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