By: Egesa Ronald Leonard
I have spent over three months (starting March 5th) pondering on whether to write this article about Kale Kayihura’s fall or not. One of the reasons that kept convincing me to stay the outing of the article was the fact that I anticipated that his arrest and subsequent arraigning before the Military General Court Martial would happen before the next mid-term Cabinet Reshuffle by President Museveni. My tea leaves did not lie to me this time round. As I type this away, Kale Kayihura is detained in Makindye High Security Military Prison alongside most of his errand boys and henchmen.
For keen observers, it was not difficult to see that the end of Kale Kayihura would take this trend (revisit my open letter to him in early April 2017 which was published by The Investigator). Kale Kayihura might have been the best student at Mutolere in his O level and also attended the prestigious St. Mary’s College Kisubi (SMACK) in A level before pursuing a degree in law at Makerere University, but, with all due respect, his intellectual prowess is nowhere near nor in the region of that of his long time boss Gen. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.
Gen. Y.K. Museveni used Kale Kayihura as a military assistant in the past and was able to gauge Kale’s personality and his weaknesses – key among them; naivety, greed and keeping bad company. These continued to manifest during the time Kale was deployed to fight in the Congo Wars that followed the ouster of Dictator Mobutu and the assassination of Mobutu’s successor Laurent Kabila. Naivety was the source of Kale’s perceived near absolute loyalty that saw him always executing his boss’ orders without question. In so doing, he alienated himself from both former friend and foe within the security establishment. He always acted like a plane on auto pilot mode or a machine under remote control.
People who have lived in Uganda in the last eight years or so will know that Kale Kayihura played a key role in dismantling the political and security network that had been created by the former Super Minister and Premier; John Patrick Amama Mbabazi. Kale used lumpens (as Mrs. Mbabazi once called them) to dismantle the JPAM network. Kale then sought to fill the void left by JPAM by converting his ‘lumpens’ into a grassroots mobilisation network fully backed up by the militia of ‘crime preventers’ that most senior policemen refer to as crime presenters. For Kale to think that the man who used him to dismantle and crash JPAM’s more politically organised outfit would allow him [Kale] to create a quasi-military outfit is nothing short of a chapter from the encyclopedia of naivety.
In fact, I agree with some political pundits that have opined that Gen. Museveni would tolerate or be softer in dealing with someone like JPAM who sought to oust him through political maneuvering, but can never tolerate nor suffer a pretender to the throne that seeks to create military might of his own. In creating his own personal army disguised as ‘crime preventers’ in addition to recruiting criminals in the Police Force who terrorised the wanainchi. Kale had not only transcended the borders of sacrilege, but had actually poked the anus of the leopard with a hot knife. He had pressed the self destruction button and he will be completely crushed.
It is not difficult to see why Kale Kayihura would be tempted. Gen. Museveni knew the person of Kale Kayihura too well. He availed him with a huge budget and lent him a good portion of power to the point that Kale Kayihura decided who would become the NRM Party flag bearer in many parts of Uganda in the last General elections. With money and power, Kale was left with two things to seek for; sex and more power. While it would have been easier and less risky for him to go for sex, he decided otherwise and sought more power.
The search for more power meant that he also had to hunt for more money! In so doing, he co-opted into his network many chaps that could do the ‘job’. Unfortunately, for him, these chaps were either criminals or latent criminals who would not only hunt for their boss, but would also handsomely hunt for themselves and this resulted into a lot of police-sponsored or instigated crime. Career policemen became irritated seeing their colleagues in uniform abet crime with impunity. It is common knowledge on the streets of Kampala that the H and H brothers that appeared from nowhere and became Kampala tycoons are proxies of powerful people in the establishment who used them to conceal their wealth. It is alleged and suspected that Kale used the same trick to conceal his wealth.
The move to hunt for more money followed the maxim that the end justifies the means. Following this maxim meant that Kale would not care the processes that brought the money to his pocket. Many of his lieutenants became a law unto themselves and placed him in a fix. He had to cover up for them as they covered for him. Credible security sources suggest that the murder of AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi could have been one such act (an inside job) orchestrated to cover up a web of crime that was instigated from the inside of the Police Force. This sad event marked the real dismissal of Kale Kayihura from the Police Force. I opined last year in my open letter to Kale that; by asking him to clean a force that he had headed for 12 years, the President was dismissing Kale from the job, but Kale ignored my advice and instead unleashed his boys to hunt for me and ask me who was sponsoring me and other journalists and writers to ‘bring him down’.
President Museveni knew that Kale was not the kind of man to interpret that statement correctly because he [Kale] was now a man consumed by greed. He was involved in a primitive accumulation of wealth and a growing thirst for power. The Commander in Chief knew that the little power he had lent to Kale had gotten to his head and gave him a false impression that he can run an extra lap and capture the throne. Gen. Museveni therefore decided to revert to his time-tested tactics of dismantling the man’s network.
First, Gen. Museveni reshuffled the key intelligence organs and appointed seasoned officers to head both CMI and ISO. By the time of Kaweesi’s brutal murder, Gen. Museveni had begun the operation to dismantle Kale’s network. He continued emboldening the intelligence outfits that he had hitherto ‘abandoned’. He had already appointed Kale’s nemesis in the docket of Security Minister and it was game on. Poor Kale could not read the signs of the times.
How could Kale read the signs of the times when he was already consumed by greed? How could he read the signs of the times and analyse the plans of his enemies when he kept the company of bootlickers like Abdullah Kitatta, Sebina Ssekitoleko, Nickson Agasirwe??? On many occasions we chastised his decision to always appear at the scene of crime within minutes of the crime happening, but could this explain the recent occurrences that see him being linked to some of these crimes? If indeed the Kitattas and Agasirwes were as wicked as we have so far been told, what makes us think that their patron or godfather is not wicked? It is often said that a person’s character is the average of those of the five people that he spends most of his time with. In the case of Kale Kayihura, it is obvious that he used to spend less time in the Counsel of his Deputy Okoth Ochola and other AIGPs, SCPs and CPs with a proven track record of policing. He spent most of his time with bad company and the writing was always on the wall.
That is how naivety, greed and bad company turned a Makerere and London School of Economics law graduate from an intellectual into a jailbird whose future can hardly be seen outside the coolers unless a natural occurrence such as lightning strikes his former boss and other enemies.