I have not come across a more tenacious defence of IGP Kayihura than the one offered by Andrew M. Mwenda in The Last Word of Aug 19-25.Mwenda writes: “In the police trying to contain Besigye’s riotous mobs, many wrong things happen as would be expected… What would be tragic is Museveni caving in to these demands (by anti-Kayihura agitators) and thus firing Kayihura. That will be tantamount to abandoning one’s injured soldier on the battlefield. But the enemies of Kayihura know that if he were removed, it would only make his successor careful. Most likely his successor would learn that it is risky to take all necessary means to contain mobs in Kampala. He would be reluctant to use all the force necessary to ensure order, believing that Museveni will not protect him… It actually takes little for poor countries to go the way of Syria, Yemen, Libya and Somalia.”A few things came to mind as I digested the views of my senior colleague:
1. Why should the Inspector General of Police need to be protected by the President? Aren’t our laws enough to protect all of us, including the IGP? Or Mwenda feels it should be OK for the IGP to suspend the laws of this land and look to the President for protection?
2. Why does Mwenda want to oversimplify Kayihura’s troubles so that it only appears that the IGP’s mission is to protect Uganda from “Besigye’s riotous mobs”? Doesn’t Mwenda remember how Kayihura acted when Amama Mbabazi tried to mobilise against Museveni? Does he forget that Kayihura turned his energies then towards fighting Mbabazi, and that part of the IGP’s work in this regard came into the public domain via what we called the “Kale Leaks”? What did this have to do with Besigye? Or was Mbabazi also organising “riotous mobs”?
3. The questions I raise in No. 2 above have led many to conclude that Kayihura is an NRM or Musevenist politician using the resources of the police to accomplish political assignments. Mwenda should have seen how Kayihura commands big budgets during election campaign times, not just to ensure law and order, but, even more importantly, to ensure that Museveni “wins”. When Kayihura’s police banned Museveni’s opponents from traversing the country to mobilise support while Museveni went everywhere, he was not preventing Besigye from mobilising riotous mobs. The police cited the Public Order Management Act (POMA) that they said barred meetings and rallies which were not authorised by the IGP, but they paid no attention to the fact that POMA explicitly exempts political parties from having to seek such permission to do their work. I can spend a full day noting down Kayihura’s political work. And it all shows that my senior colleague Mwenda is being wilfully untruthful by claiming that Kayihura has restricted himself to curbing Besigye’s attempt to usurp power “by unconstitutional means”. I put it to Mwenda that the job of the IGP is not to protect the President from being defeated by his opponents.
4. Let Kayihura carry his cross. He got away with too much over the past decade chiefly because he protected Museveni’s hold on power without inflicting excessive damage to the image of the President. The IGP has now put on record that the police force he leads sanctioned the use of batons against Ugandans. We all saw it. None of Kayihura’s opponents, whether in the Opposition or within the Establishment, is making that up. Mwenda’s attempt to deflect responsibility from Kayihura to Besigye, who Mwenda loves to deride, in this case fails spectacularly.
This opinion was first published on the social media and its republished here with permission from the author Eriasa Serunjogi a Daily Monitor Reporter
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