At first, the public leaks of taped conversations between police chief Kale Kayihura and NRM youths were scripted as an attempt to stop Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi’s ‘bid’ for the presidency. But the latest tape, featuring Kayihura and deputy Lord Mayor Sulaiman Kidandala has stirred panic, and reshaped the narrative especially within the opposition ranks.

The leak, insiders say, illuminates one reality – that Kayihura has recorded most private conversations he has had with many people, including leading opposition figures. Insider sources say that among the 87 missing tapes, one has Kayihura and DP President General Norbert Mao talking.

Phone talk

Mao admits that he talks to Kayihura regularly on phone. He told us yesterday that he last sat down for a one-on-one with Kayihura two years ago. The only other recent meeting with Kayihura, Mao said, occurred when he and other opposition leaders met the police chief to express their displeasure with the way police was violently breaking up their political rallies. However, and as if with a tinge of fresh suspicion, Mao recalls that lately, an aide to the police chief has been pestering him for a meeting.

“Unless I was recorded through a third party but for me I have nothing to fear or hide,” Mao said. “I am an honest and straight person.”

Mao said he was not a “double dealer” like some opposition MPs and, therefore, would never trade any secrets or take any money from the police chief if the two met. He said Kayihura’s approach of recording his private conversations with people was crude and some people who would want to give police sensitive information might be deterred.

Yet in a society where some politicians wear different political shades depending on the time of the day or night, revelations that some opposition politicians have been cutting deals with government might not be surprising.
Kidandala, a DP member, has been until the leaks, one of the most trusted lieutenants of Erias Lukwago, the embattled Kampala lord mayor.

Together with Makindye Councillor Allan Ssewanyana, they have been Lukwago’s key strategists in his battle to assert his supremacy on City hall. Yet from the contents of the conversation with Kayihura, it is clear that Kidandala turned against Lukwago.

What comes out clearly from the Kidandala tape is that the deputy mayor thinks lowly of the man (Lukwago) who handpicked him for the job. On tape, Kidandala is heard telling Kayihura that Lukwago suffers from “arrivalism”- a feeling of self-importance. He also assures the police chief that he is willing to work with government to weaken Lukwago. At a press briefing last week, Kidandala confirmed that he had met Kayihura but insisted he did not ask for any money from him.

“The voices were doctored to suggest that I asked for money,” he said.

Lukwago said during a morning talk show on NBS TV on Monday that he was “shocked and frightened by Kidandala’s recording.

“I have talked to him about it and we are still talking…but why does Kayihura go behind my back…,” Lukwago wondered.

In a separate interview,

Wafula Oguttu, the leader of the Opposition in Parliament, said conversations between Kayihura and members of the opposition were disturbing but not surprising.

“We have always known that there are moles amongst us but Kidandala is just one member of the opposition and therefore does not represent all of us,” he said.

Oguttu claimed that they too had moles within the NRM, the only difference being that “we don’t record them while they are giving us vital information.”

Asuman Basalirwa, the president of Justice Forum (Jeema), said it would be unfair to use the recordings to demonize the opposition.

“For me I think each recording should be analsyed case by case and put into proper context,” he said.

Basalirwa said the recordings had brought the opposition in the crossfire between Kayihura and Mbabazi. They were diverting them from bigger-picture issues such as fighting abuse of public resources, personalisation of state resources and absence of the rule of law.

Police responds

At a recent press conference Police Spokesman Fred Enanga, attempted to explain the recordings.

Asked whether it was standard procedure for police to record people without their knowledge, he said, “When we are carrying out intelligence investigations, there is what we call investigative aids which involve things like recordings by having tapes, video and audio recordings because they facilitate investigations that we may need for future reference.

When you are handling such matters like politics, where a person keeps on shifting positions, for future reference, the recorded information helps us. When we have the recording, it doesn’t stop there. We have to go and refine it, investigate further and carry out extensive intelligence in processing the information so that we come up with something credible at the end…”

Public reation

The recordings have also sowed suspicion of the opposition within the general public. The feeling of betrayal was palpable on social media, minutes after Kidandala’s recording was made public.

“There are very few young politicians who have been able to shake off M7 tricks. Remember some of these are young men with little wealth and need money for survival and development. Kidandala’s case requires more investigation and analysis. We need to know why he took the money, why he has been in support of the lord mayor despite the bribe, how has he been behaving and deliberating during the strategy setting…” wrote one of his Facebook ‘friends’.

Another questioned: “What kind of opposition do we have in this country?”

Yet another compared Kidandala’s action to that of Judas Iscariot, who, according to the Bible, betrayed Jesus for 30 pieces of silver. So far the contents of three out of a reported 87 missing tapes have been made public, meaning there are 84 more to go. For opposition members who have recently met Kayihura, formally or informally, the anxiety has just started.

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+2 #1 Danny Long Cap 2014-04-23 01:34
Bring on the tapes. I am enjoying every bit of this !
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+2 #2 Emmanuel L. Muwonge 2014-04-23 03:12
Calling some or a combination or all of the tapes "leaked", assumes certain facts not in evidence. How do we know that these tapes were in fact "leaked"?

To suggest a leak assumes you know who did the so-called "leaking"! Do we know who did? Do we know what the chain of custody is? This is important, at least legally, to establish whether or not the tapes are authentic.

I hear Kidandala claiming that certain portions of the recordings were "doctored"! Well, while that might be true, Kidandala is not in a position to say anything requiring even minimal doses of credibility for the obvious reasons.

Lets say he is credible for purposes of the "doctoring". So what? Why would that aspect of it matter? Does it make any difference? Did Kidandala meet with Kayihura and why they met, how many times they met and reasons why, are the central questions at least as far as I am concerned.

Who else has Kidandala met with? When? How many times and why?
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+2 #3 ssesanga 2014-04-23 08:25
All is called dirty politics mastermned by the man mueveni himself. By doing recordings of opposition and percieved dissents within NRM is just intended to demystify any opposition to his bad rule in the public domain.

in escence, m7 is a master of politics and we can't afford to defeat him anyways so it means.
M7 has been a crook all his time since..people just need to understand him, aptly and steadly fight him off Uganda.
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+2 #4 sn 2014-04-23 08:27
Does anyone remember that sometime back after New Vision carried two different pictures taken at political rallies by Besigye and Museveni in Luwero, it was very clear from the pictures who had a bigger turn up.

This irked Museveni who first claimed New Vision had manipulated the pictures using computer graphics to show his opponent with apparent bigger following.

late Mayombo was quickly appointed to New Vision board and given the responsibility to ensure that did not happen again. he was sponsored for training in computer graphics to understand the technology.

Later after the Mulago fiasco with Besigye in full view of media, we saw attempts to show a different picture from what happened on the ground.

Museveni was at pains to show a video in Kenya to news reporters who observed the event live. NRM will not stop at anything. The Kaihura tapes are strategic tools in NRM political game.
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+2 #5 Muko 2014-04-23 09:14
These people being taped are really stupid!It is not difficult to know you are being recorded!

Listen to your host talking and you will easily know that he is reserving something. That is enough for you too to be reserved!
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+4 #6 stevenkasiiko 2014-04-23 10:49
Misguided question don't blame the opposition blame it on Museveni he has deliberately made all Ugandans poor so that they re vulnerable to his bribes using tax payers money look at our MPS
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+1 #7 IBANDA SAMUEL 2014-04-23 11:05
Now how can we(opposion) assure the publc that we are figth for one cause , imagine it,s one but involving comrade to lukwago.When Rubaramila went wesaid it has no harm to the part and ithink was true but some strategising with you and tomorrow and at nigth plans agnaist you deserves death .

HOwever it,s good that you have known who Mr kaihura wors for , ithink now he thinks security is tight , let me nomore betrayals will come up thanks
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+3 #8 Bayomba 2014-04-23 12:03
I am almost certain that while we are being distracted by these Kayihura recordings, Mbabazi's attempted power grab, Kidandala meetings, some people some where in governement are busy using this opportunity to steal money.

If there are any criminal procedings that need to be started please just do that but do not lose focus. We're dealing with thieves here!!
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+1 #9 kelem 2014-04-23 12:07
Kale leaks should continue as they have helped to illuminate the hyenas
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