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Goodbye Kale Kayihura, and Henry Tumukunde

By Ofwono Opondo

Mar 8, 18
Last weekend’s spectacular fall of the flamboyant short-lived security minister Lt. Gen.(Rtd) Henry Tumukunde, and his nemesis, former long-serving Inspector General of Police (IGP) Gen. Edward Kale Kayihura, although appeared to many as sudden, had been seen coming over months especially against their un-ending and unrestrained squabbling in the media. Perhaps, both Kayihura and Tumukunde qualify to be viewed like Thomas Cromwell in the court of the Tudors during King Henry VIII’s reign.
Their fall also came against isolated although high profile murders of vulnerable civilians, and some police officers, whose motives are yet to be fully investigated, prosecuted and convincingly explained to the general public. This wave of violent crime has rightly made people weary and indignant, dented Kayihura and police image, and threatens security credentials and credibility of the NRM government.  
On the heels of AIGP Felix Kawesi gruesome murder in March 2017, President Yoweri Museveni publicly chastised the police as having been infiltrated by “criminals’ and directed Kayihura to clean it up, which he apparently failed to effect in good time. Consequently, it was the army that recently stepped to investigate, apprehend and is prosecuting senior police officers before the Military Court Martial.
Kayihura who had stalling and disciplined career in the UPDF over the years was appointed IGP in October 2005 to rebuild a police force whose credibility had been tarnished almost beyond redemption where career officers could neither respect nor supervise each other.
The judicial commission of inquiry into the police force in 1998 led by Justice Julia Sebutinde, had indicted the police as rogue and criminal where officers and men routinely hired out their guns to city criminals to commit violent crimes including murders, robberies, and hit-for-tat revenge business rivalry. Sebutinde then recommended that police should be overhauled, consequently, the mass dismissal of its top brass, and the appointment of Gen. Katumba Wamala as the first serving military officer as IGP who lasted six years.
Therefore, some of the current criticisms as to why military officers have been deployed in the police aren’t born by verifiable facts. Over the years since Katumba’s appointment, police has been able to rebuild its image as a pro-people, democratic and enlightened force. Also, since 2006, Kayihura has built the police numbers by recruiting well educated personnel, offered professional and specialised training, expanded in-service training facilities within the Uganda, and professionalized the force. Kayihura has successfully lobbied for a bigger police budget which has been fairly rationalised on force transport fleet, equipment, communication, and welfare, and the police are now productive. The police are visible and active at least up to the sub-county level in the most far-flung rural areas.
Simultaneously, crime of all categories including terrorism, violent robberies of financial institutions, money on transit and on highways, businesses, and abductions of children for ritual sacrifice have reduced tremendously. However, almost thirteen years of Kayihura at the helm of the police had begun to take its own toll on both him and the entire police where cracks in team building and work were evident.
However, it’s evident that command, and discipline had gone down with frequent and erratic transfers where officers wouldn’t know their next fate, and created the perception, false or otherwise that promotion, deployment and transfers were based on favoritism of tribe and ethnicity. There silent but widespread accusations that within police, Kayihura listened to no one except a coterie of junior loyalists and civilian handlers he had created. Sadly, this is the image of police in disarray that Kayihura is leaving behind and some may be right to say goodbye Kayihura.
As for Gen. Tukumunde, he has been a highly self-conceited, and conflicted officer who leaves trails of controversies wherever he has served including as Commander UPDF Fourth Division based in Gulu, as Chief of Military Intelligence, and as Director General of the Internal Security Organisation (ISO) where he had to be forcefully evicted in 2002 when he adamantly refused to vacate and handover office when he was dropped. Tumukunde’s recent public burst up in the full glare of television cameras against a police officer deployed to enforce a court eviction at the infamous Panamera bar, was a very low bar for a lawyer, senior UPDF officer and a government minister. So to him, it’s perhaps right to say, thank you very much for the services rendered over the years, but good riddance.
To the new team heading the police, IGP Martin Okoth Ochola, and deputy IGP, Brig. Sabiiti Muzeyi, you have been professional fine officers, and the public expectations of you are very high and valid. Ochola must rise to the task and build on what both Katumba Wamala and Kayihura achieved. There is need for a sprawling investigation to weed out the black sheep from police, and other security agencies who have been the sieves leaking information to criminal networks.
Only through this effort shall we make the Uganda police a true national democratic, non-fractious, competent, cohesive, effective, responsive and dependable security force capable of policing law and order in Uganda.