Moments after President Museveni announced Gen Kale Kayihura’s sacking, the former inspector general of police handed back the force’s property.
This included the fleet of five cars; three Toyota V8 Land Cruisers, one of them armoured, plus two trucks for his security detail. Within hours, all had been driven to police headquarters in Naguru. While Kayihura remains officially in charge until the official hand-over to his former deputy, John Martins Okoth Ochola, he has stayed away from office.
“Since the message came, he hasn’t stepped in office. He has, however, returned all the equipment he was using at home,” a senior police officer told The Observer on March 8.
A handful of police guards had formed his security detail while the rest were soldiers. The policemen have returned to Naguru for redeployment. Their soldier colleagues reportedly handed back police uniforms in their possession.
“In police, he has been on secondment and since the appointing authority recalled the secondment, he has to hand over all the police guards, guns, communication equipment, uniforms and the residential house which the police has been renting for him as IGP,” a knowledgeable source said.
The Muyenga house is said to have been rented by police for Kayihura after he declined to take up the official residence of the IGP on Mabua road, Kololo.
The Kololo residence was last used by John Kisembo (IGP 1998 to 2001). Gen Katumba Wamala, who replaced Kisembo, chose to remain in his home and only drew a house allowance. The official residence was turned into offices for the Uganda chapter of Interpol.
Kayihura is expected to report back to army headquarters in Mbuya for redeployment. With two years to his retirement, he is still entitled to the salary and allowances of an army general, an official car, escort car and guards.
“Once he is finished with the handover, the army will take care of him,” UPDF spokesman Brig Richard Karemire said on March 12.
Since his sacking on March 4, he now uses a privately registered car. Kayihura has been seen playing tennis at Kampala Club and at his farm in Kashagama, Lyantonde district.
And he is said to be ‘prepared for anything’.
The unfolding events have triggered a mini panic amongst Kayihura friends. Some fear that President Museveni could order his court martialling. But Karemire has discounted this possibility.
“Who says he is going to be court-martialled and over what charges? As far as I know, there is no case that has been levelled against Gen Kale,” Karemire told The Observer.
While presiding at the International Women’s day celebrations in Mityana last week, Museveni said the police was infested by bean weevils, which made difficult it to defeat criminality.
The weevil talk came hardly a month after Museveni told journalists at his demonstration farm in Kawumu, Luweero district about his frustrations with the police. This was after journalists asked him about the evident tensions between security agencies, particularly the police and Internal Security Organisation.
Museveni said the clashes were not between security agencies but a disagreement between individuals (Kayihura and Security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde).
“Criminals had hijacked our security agencies; you saw some that we arrested and arraigned before the court martial,” Museveni said.
In November last year, the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence arrested several police officers; notably, Nixon Agasirwe and Joel Aguma who are said to have been rather close to Kayihura. Museveni said the criminals were working for a foreign country.
“We can’t allow somebody in our security agencies to serve foreign interests,” Museveni said.
Although he did not mention Kayihura’s name, sympathisers fear that Museveni was referring to him. As IGP, Kayihura is known to have been on good terms with his Rwandan counterpart Emmanuel Gasana, which apparently led to the police’s arbitrary arrest and forced repatriation of Rwandan refugees in Uganda.
Some of those snatched and dragged back home had either been granted, or were seeking political asylum, while under the protection of UNHCR – hence the uproar over their irregular extradition.
At least 45 Rwandans are on remand in Mbarara over alleged terrorism.