General Edward Kalekezi Kayihura Muhwezi, commonly known as Kale Kayihura, is a Ugandan lawyer, military officer, farmer and former policeman. He was the Inspector General of Police (IGP) of the Uganda Police Force, the highest rank in that branch of Uganda’s government, from 2005 until 5 March 2018. He was succeeded by Martin Okoth Ochola in an unexpected reshuffle which also saw the Minister for security replaced.
General Kayihura had been under the service of Yoweri Museveni from 1982 fresh out of school in London to March 2018 when he was fired. He, therefore, has over 36 years of service to Museveni and his agenda. It is therefore fair to say that Kayihura has been one of Museveni’s longest-serving officers and “errand” boys.
Kayihura was involved in military operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the wars in the ’90s and later in Northern Uganda during the Kony insurgency. He was later brought into administration at the Centre where he was given Police uniform. He oversaw the process of militarization of Uganda Police and the conversion of the force into a partisan and Museveni serving body. His tenure will be remembered for many excesses of power and human rights abuses.
Kayihura fell out of grace with Museveni in quite a dramatic fashion. His troubles started when a wave of crimes, killings and assassinations targeting several high profile government officials occurred under his watch. At that time, Museveni warned Kayihura to clean up his Police force because it was infiltrated by “criminals” who he held responsible for the killing of persons like Prosecutor Kagezi, AIGP Felix Kaweesi, Ibrahim Abiriga among others.
In the end, Museveni and Kayihura parted ways when he was fired from Police. He was later arrested on suspicion of working with a foreign government although the official charges before the Court Martial are for possession of arms of war. He spent some time under incarceration at the Makindye Military barracks before he was later granted bail.
However, the word in the corridors has always been that Museveni was heartbroken that Kale Kayihura had allied with the government in Kigali to cause instability in Uganda and used the Uganda Police to arrest political refugees from Rwanda and repatriate them back to Kigali. It is also believed that he had empowered Rwanda cells in Uganda that were/are responsible for the growing wave of insecurity in the country. It is at this time when the Uganda Rwanda relations completely broke down. In fact, it is said that at the time of his arrest, Gen. Kale Kayihura was planning an escape into Rwanda from where he would flee into exile.
Now trapped and condemned in Uganda, Gen. Kale Kayihura must have learnt of the news of his public designation by the US government for human rights abuses and corruption with great pain and feeling of betrayal.
The truth is that Kayihura is not the only NRM cadre guilty of human rights abuses and grand corruption; in fact, the list of such guilty parties is long. If anything, we remember that Uganda’s very Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa was wanted in the US for charges of corruption after he took a bribe from an official who was convicted on the same charges. However, the Ugandan government used its diplomatic arms to stifle such summons and protect Sam Kutesa.
Therefore, we have all reason to suspect and believe that Kale Kayihura could be the sacrificial lamb that Yoweri Museveni has placed down to appease the thirst and hunger of the US government which has decried human rights abuses and corruption in Uganda. Probably they asked for heads to roll and Museveni offered them his former lapdog Kayihura whom he is stuck with after his acts of betrayal.
In the end, however, Museveni and his close cronies ought to know that what has befallen Kayihura could happen to them any day and anytime because they are as guilty for the charges against him as he is.