Ugandan security sources claim the arrest of former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, and several of his blue-eyed boys during his time at the helm of the force, was to avert an insurrection.
Security sources told The EastAfrican that President Yoweri Museveni’s forces had been watching Gen Kayihura and his movements for years, especially after the former police chief was sacked in March this year.
This past week, President Museveni called a meeting of security chiefs that led to the arrest of the former IGP.
Matters came to a head following suspicions that Gen Kayihura, who had built a network of operatives ostensibly to keep the regime in power, was in fact creating his own power base to take a shot at his boss’s position.
The 11 million crime preventers and the Boda Boda 2010 network that reported to Gen Kayihura appear in intelligence briefs as part of the general’s network.
They were allegedly working in the short-term to facilitate President Museveni’s re-election, but ultimately to power Gen Kayihura’s own ambitions.
In addition, security dossiers lay bare Gen Kayihura’s alleged collaboration with a known “foreign” country, and put him at the centre of a plot to facilitate operatives within Uganda’s forces to target President Museveni.
In one such dossier, sent to the President two months before he fired Gen Kayihura, a former security operative claims to have been offered $100,000 by the foreign country to plot a high level assassination inside Uganda.
Sources say Gen Kayihura and his associates face “serious cases” that include “treason, espionage, murder, recruitment, and creation and arming of illegal militia with intent to overthrow the government.”
A day after Gen Kayihura’s arrest, Uganda Peoples Defence Forces Spokesman Brig Richard Karemire issued a statement in which he said that the former police chief was “being questioned on a matter, details of which cannot at this point be divulged.”
Sources that we cannot reveal due to the sensitivity of the matter say that as IGP, Gen Kayihura enjoyed the loyalty of young officers within the police, and had operatives and associates outside the force who wielded a lot of influence.
But the clearest sign that the longest serving police chief had fallen from favour was last October, when security agencies started arresting his most trusted police officers as well as operatives of armed civilian ragtag units that reported to Gen Kayihura.
Charges slapped on the arrested officers include kidnap of Rwandan refugees and unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition.
The EastAfrican has learnt that Gen Kayihura appeared before Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi on Wednesday at the Military General Headquarters Mbuya in Kampala for questioning on his links with a foreign government, and the assassination in March last year of assistant IGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi.
Gen Kaweesi’s murder reinforced the fear that the country was under attack by unknown killers after a spate of high profile assassinations had taken place. The style of execution was similar — bullets pumped into victims by hooded assassins riding on motorcycles.
Among those killed were Maj Mohammed Kiggundu who worked with government, and deputy director of Public Prosecutions Joan Kagezi. Between 2012 and 2015, half a dozen Muslim clerics had been executed.
On June 8, NRM legislator for Arua Municipality Ibrahim Abiriga became the latest victim. President Museveni called the killers “stupid” and “these idiots”.