5 March 2018

Uganda: Kayihura's Time Was Up - Ofwono Opondo

Photo: Daily Monitor
President Yoweri Museveni decorates Inspector General of Police Kale Kayihura during the Independence Day celebrations in Luuka on October 9, 2016.

The sacking of Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura and security minister, Gen Henry Tumukunde is meant for good, according to the government spokesperson Mr Ofwono Opondo.

"In terms of professionalisation, Gen Kale has brought the police force from very far but along the way, he met challenges," says Mr Opondo.

According to Opondo, the President made his displeasure about the way Gen Kayihura was doing his job known, two years ago.

"The murder of the Muslim clerics, the gruesome murder of AIGP Felix Kaweesi, then [senior state prosecutor Joan] Kagezi. While Kayihura has done a good job, I think it was time for him. The end has been a bad one but the 12 years and a half have been good. President Museveni is a very patient person, he's been very patient with all of us he appoints. He believes more in concentrating on the strengths of the people he works with. By the time he (President Museveni) takes disciplinary action against you, it means he's given you many chances," added Mr Opondo while appearing on NBS Television on Monday morning.

"While President Museveni is responsive, he's never been pushed by public outcry to make a decision. By the time he came out publicly after the death of AIGP Felix, he must have sat with Kayihura privately to caution him about the police," the government spokesperson added.

When asked whether police had failed at their duty of protecting Ugandans and their property,

Mr Opondo said: "I don't want to agree with you that the police is going to the dogs. If you found out how much threat they conceal, you'd appreciate their efforts. However even the best dancer misses a step."

On Kayihura-Tumukunde feud, Mr Opondo said: "It's quite not clear why these two comrades should have been having a running wrangle in the media. The President himself asked them to stop bickering and in the meantime security was getting out of hand. The President was sure that Kayihura was capable of cleaning up the force. Along the way, a dispute erupted between Kayihura and Tumukunde and I don't think it was necessary for these are comrades."

However, Busiro East MP Medard Seggona who was co-hosted on the same show said those who serve Mr Museveni know he wants to be protected and respected.

"Why would you say Kayihura has been sacked because of the murders and the wrangles, if that was the case he would have sacked them long time ago. Mr Museveni doesn't retire people, he sacks. For Kayihura, we saw this coming. I met him after his contract was renewed, I told him I can't congratulate you, I'll cry for you instead because you're working for a despot."

According to him, one of the biggest failures of Gen Kayihura was the way he treated intelligence.

"The traditional police officers in the CID haven't been generally involved in the investigations, he created parallel departments but he doesn't want to admit," said MP Seggona.

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