IGP faces questions on police approach to opposition protests

Some say he has helped make tear gas and police brutality a mainstay on Uganda’s political scene, others believe he has done a commendable job of transforming the Police Force into a more responsive and humane unit.

Whichever way you look at it, few topics in Uganda today are more emotive than the assessment of Maj Gen Kale Kayihura’s six-year period as Inspector General of Police.

Whilst the opposition loathes him with a passion and believes he is a major obstacle to their political aspirations, President Museveni says Kayihura has done a fantastic job.

The President is so impressed that he has already endorsed another three-year term for his former military assistant, which will take him up to November 2014.

As Kayihura waits for the approval of his new term by Parliament’s Appointments committee, there is little doubt that some MPs will be itching to challenge the President’s faith in him. Some MPs have insinuated that they are likely to point to the concern that Kayihura has transformed the police into a partisan institution which perceives its task as that of protecting the regime while meting out brutality on opposition supporters.

The recent unleashing of treason charges against opposition activists, Ingrid Turinawe, Sam Mugumya and Francis Mwijukye in a bid to stop them participating in walk-to-work protests obviously did not help this image. Hussein Kyanjo (Makindye West MP) believes Kayihura has been more inclined to serving the interests of the NRM as opposed to the country.

“He has a good personality as an individual, but he is not the right person to manage the police because of his military background,” says Kyanjo, also shadow Internal Affairs minister.

Yet regardless of these concerns, Kayihura is almost certain to be approved by the NRM-dominated Appointments committee. Even critics, like Kyanjo, admit that Kayihura is at least amiable, accessible, and will lend you an ear even if he might not offer solutions to your concerns.

Some say in Kayihura, Museveni has found a loyal cadre, as the President recently called him, who can do his political bidding without question. Such people believe that Kayihura’s appointment as IGP in November 2005 was timely as Museveni needed such a person in charge of the police with elections looming.

Indeed a couple of weeks into the job, Kayihura got baptism of fire as his police arrested FDC leader Dr Kizza Besigye on charges of rape and treason. The dramatic arrest, and the spontaneous violence from Besigye’s supporters that followed, kind of welcomed Kayihura into the hot seat. And it has been like that ever since.

Hands-on man

One of the most enduring memories from Kayihura’s early days as IGP was when he was photographed taking pot-bellied officers through physical drills at Kibuli Police Training School. Clearly, he wanted a force of fit and efficient individuals. This hands-one style has at times worked for him but at other times backfired.

For instance, he was personally involved in investigating the case of Kham Kakama, the one-and-half-year-old boy who was kidnapped from Bugolobi flats and later killed in 2010. When Kayihura does this, critics accuse him of playing to the gallery, while supporters say he cares.

Yet the biggest criticism he has had to contend with, especially from opposition supporters and some independent minded people, is his force’s violent approach to opposition demonstrations and rallies. It is a fact that the political times he operates in are different from those of his predecessors, but that won’t take away another fact – that his time in charge has seen the largest police deployment operations in our history, with virtually all corners of Kampala and other towns under 24-hour watch.

During this period, Ugandans have also witnessed the increasing fusion of the police and army, from sharing police stations and vehicles, to wearing almost similar uniform and using similar tactics. When his time is finally up, Kayihura will, among other things, be remembered as the police chief under whose reign the police moved from being grossly underfunded to being lavished.

Where his predecessor, General Katumba Wamala, led a broke force that even undertook fundraising activities to buy a few patrol pickups, Kayihura has seen thousands of new officers recruited and hundreds of cars and motorcycles purchased to ease police operations. A lot of equipment has also been acquired, most of it for quelling riots.

However, poor housing and remuneration remain a stain on this otherwise impressive transformation. Another stain is corruption. Just last week, a survey by Transparency International ranked Uganda Police Force as the most bribery-prone compared to its counterparts in the four East African Community states.

In addition, Kayihura’s Police Force faces criticism from local and international human rights groups over its violation of people’s rights. Mohammed Ndifuna, executive director of the Human Rights Network (HURINET), told The Observer that the human rights violation record of police under Kayihura is one of the worst he has seen.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give police 4 because it has violently clamped down on demonstrations and has been cited in torture of civilians in detention,” Ndifuna said.

Judith Nabakooba, the police spokesperson, told The Observer on Friday that irrespective of what people say, Kayihura has demonstrated good leadership and has greatly transformed police.

“We have had our challenges like any organisation but on the whole the Police force now has a human face and is involved in many community activities, which was not the case before,” Nabakooba said.

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0 #1 Kalooli Muzzukulu wa Nkali 2011-10-30 22:26
Robotic policing wired with a wrong programme of see and hear no evil of NRMuseveni, even to the point of being ridiculed in public.

Remember as it was reported here in the Observer how he was made to look like a drenched chicken. This is when he was trying to enforce the crush helmet to the motor cyclists only to be told off in public his ever wiseacre boss M7.
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0 #2 andrew nsubuga 2011-10-30 22:31
when time comes,like his boss Museveni, Kayihura should be taken Alive for a fair just trial but if kayihura resisted then be executed. Kayihura took orders and with his armed men still at large in police uniforms of Uganda murdered and shot dead over 40 Ugandans in the september 2009 massacer of the Baganda Kingdom.

Kayihura and his killers in the police terrorised , tortured and shot dead ten walk to work demonstrators including baby Nalwanga. How can such evil man be boss of the Police again? Only in Museveni's Uganda whereHuman life has no value and meaning at all.

The brutal arrest and torture to near death of Dr. Besigye opposition leader that alone would discolify Kayihura from taking the top job in the Uganda police but again this is a Museveni Terrorist murdererous dictatorship beasts of no nation the most corrupt quasi militery regime who have milked the cow without feeding it .

Kayihura you are a disgrace to Uganda and with your boss Museveni you belong in Hell. God bless and free Uganda from this Museveni regime
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0 #3 Margery 2011-10-30 22:36
And that's where this appointment will lead him to. The guy is atleast assured of a sit at the Hague
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0 #4 col mana 2011-10-31 05:42
After being disgraced infront of his subjects .That is the only thing he has to do.Poor kayihura is working understress .

If he does not get involved directly M7 will arrest people by him self as it is a norm since every thing is under m7 so kayihura is working hands on to show that he is really active but in the actual sense he is not happy with the work.I believe he was happier in SRP job than this one he is doing
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0 #5 RONIE 2011-10-31 07:35
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0 #6 Susan Asiimwe 2011-10-31 08:59
What appointment ... more of the same, Museveni style ..just handing over key posts to his cronies without any the parliament having a say..( I hear he is now called Ssabagabe ... I thought that he was the Emperor).

Kayihura shouldn't be in the police force in the first instance and any Ugandan student of political science will tell you so, but with President Museveni keen on militarizing the police force, he had to pick his puppet.
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0 #7 Andy Moore 2011-10-31 09:24
It is only in a Mafia's gov't where such killers are reappointed & criminals in gov't offices are protected. Kayihura as a proud NRM cadre has headed a military & brutal police force but one day he will be dragged to the streets by the same people/relative s he is torturing,maimi ng & killing everyday, the Gaddafi style.
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0 #8 Terman 2011-10-31 09:34
Even Jesus was tormented and even killed but up to now the movement he stood for is still going strong after almost 1000milion yrs ie Christianity.

Those who tormented him are never talked about. Either Museveni or Kaihura will die any time but what they stood for will stand the taste of time Christianity and Jesus.
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0 #9 Mzee Kambeja 2011-10-31 18:07
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0 #10 Ben Tumwine 2011-10-31 19:28
Gen Kaihura is the most visible symbol of oppression in the NRM regime today.The would be a learned friend has been used to the extent that he appears not have ever been to any law school.

"The problem of Africa, and Uganda in particular, are caused by leaders who overstay in power, which breeds impunity,corrup tion and promotes patronage,''Pre sident Museveni used those words in his inauguration address to the nation over two decades ago.

Among the people who were there but can't remember these good words is Gen Kaihura.He might have been described as the loyal cadre of the Movement, no question about it but but defending President Museveni's regime at the moment is like defending the brutal rule of Gen A. Pinochet of the Republic of Chile in the 1970s.

But what Gen Kaihura is doing now may come to haunt him at one time.Mr John Demjanjuk a 91 year old former Ohio auto worker was sent to a German court to face crimes committed during world war 11 when he worked as a guard at the notorious Nazi death camp of Sobibor in Poland.

My point here is that when your in postion of responsiblity and power,avoid treating fellow citizens like what is happening in the country today.How do you charge some one with treason because of mere walking to work? Gen Kaihura, i wish you another three good years in office and continue to be a loyal cadre.
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0 #11 Okiror 2011-11-01 04:56
Kayihura is first and foremost Museveni's politruk, and one of the main the perpetrators of politically motivated crimes in Uganda.

To save Museveni's regime, he will stop at nothing. He could still redeem himself, but odds are he will one day find himself sitting in the accused bench without that smug, glib, and self righteous smirk of his.
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0 #12 ama 2011-11-01 08:40
pse investigate those motorcycle deals you will be shocked
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0 #13 ama 2011-11-01 08:55
commissioner 1:“…I joined the police force many years ago to serve the people of Uganda. In the early days, we were allowed to practice what we had learnt from Masindi (police training school – Ed).

We were very happy to be professional and non-partisan because it made our work in the community very easy. Sadly, our current boss is making it very difficult for us discharge our duties without fear or favour”, said one officer.

Many of us are ashamed of his (Kayihura’s) partisan behaviour. But we also feel powerless to do anything about it. What is clear is that things need to change soon. If they don’t, then I will seriously consider following Odwe”, the officer said.

commisioner2:“… This country belongs to you young people and you need to take charge of it. We have done our bit. As for Kayihura, I remember that a few years after he came in, things started changing for worse.

When the Black Mamba appeared in police uniform at the High Court, I told my wife it was time to retire. When she asked me why, I told her I would rather die of hunger in my house than lose my dignity and integrity”, the retired officer said.“…We have been married for over thirty years. She knows how principled I am.

And Kayihura’s style did not sit well with my principles as a professional police officer. And I can tell that there are many officers like me but they simply don’t have the courage to do what I did”, he said.

commissioner 3:“…I am working under Kayihura not because I like it but because I have no choice. We are being ordered by young men who seem to take their orders from the army. Police is no longer what it used to be when we were concerned with keeping law and order.

It’s more like a unit of the UPDF now. Every small problem is dealt with militarily and it pains me so much”, the Commissioner said.“…I wish I could resign.

I am trapped in police uniform when what I am ordered to do requires a military uniform. But who will pay fees for my children if I resign? Who will pay rent for my house, the police Commissioner said.
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0 #14 ssali michael 2011-11-01 12:06
shame to the nation if the old people do not want to live.kayihura should go!!
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0 #15 steven kasiko 2011-11-02 01:07
Kayihura since joining the police force he has turned it into an army force
The police now is specialized in brutalisation of civilians and Kayihura under his commander in chief President Museveni have increased the repression .

Restricting Ugandans their rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly ,and all this is being done in a careless manner by which security forces suppress walk-to-work and other peaceful demonstrations kill detain and charge innocent civilans with fake cases like treason ,He has even shot dead civilians some un related to protests.

Did Kayihura and Museveni see how Gaddaffi was manhandled and beaten, slapped like a kid this is what will happen to you. Kayihura and Museveni you will have to account for the innocent Ugandans you have killed and your criinal offences.

Some of us we shall not rest until Uganda is liberate from Museveni's thugs
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0 #16 James 2011-11-02 07:11
Whether you like him or not, Kale(or Karekyezi) Kayihura deserved his third term because he's a faithful servant.

He works in the interest of the president all the time. I am just not sure if the law demands this of him though!.

So the times that he and his colleagues have maimed, tear gassed or even killed, he was just following orders from above.

So you can see that the guy deserves a reward.
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0 #17 Kabaale 2011-11-02 14:01
I have no qualms with politicians fighting to preserve their paymasters but are irked when supposed civil servants do so.

It is under Kayihura that suspects are summarily paraded and declared guilty prior to due court processes.

The excessive use of force with impunity for those doing it has become the hallmark of Kayihura's police plus the assumption of judicial roles where wearing a uniform is the determinant of right and wrong for any Ugandan to cross the Police force.

Intimidation, though the intended outcome of heavy deployment has resulted in lessened fear for the Police, guns and tear gas, a time may come when Police sirens will attract more rioters than dispersing them, conditioning or acclimatization.

Nevertheless, we have a Police force with the Best Vehicles yet sleeping in tents, nice uniforms but low pay and so much which explains the brutality since trauma is a part and parcel of service.
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0 #18 beebwa 2011-11-02 14:20
Kayihura is a jack of all trades and a master of none. He has never done any course, military or police, which relates to staff command.

That`s why he listens to very junior people and takes action (often wrong) on their advice. That`s why he`s complitely averse to delegation. And that`s why the UPF has no recognisable uniform nowadays
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