On Friday, the General Court Martial charged the former Inspector General of Police, Gen.Kale Kayihura with three counts related to failure to protect war materials and failure to supervise his juniors.
Gen.Kayihura has been under detention at the military police barracks in Makindye since June 13 when he was arrested from his home in Kashagama, Lyantonde district and airlifted to Kampala by the army.
As early as 8am, the former police boss’ relatives and friends especially from Kisoro, his home district had started arriving at the army court in Makindye.
Clad in black t-shirts praising Kayihura, the group disembarked from a bus one by one before making their way to the army court premises.
A few minutes after 10am, three vehicles including an army double cabin pickup escorted by two other pickups full of military police officers arrived at the army court.
Unlike the usual practice where vehicles save from one of the chairman and court members park at the behind corner of the court premises, the convoy was also allowed to break the rubric.
From the army double cabin pickup disembarked Gen. Kale Kayihura clad in a UPDF land forces uniform with a black beret, before being led to the General Court Martial cells.
Among the key officers present included Military Police Deputy Commandant Col Geoffrey Karugaba to ensure safety at the army court premises.
Meanwhile, former CMI boss National Enterprise Corporation’s Maj. Gen.James Mugira and UPDF air force deputy commander Maj.Gen.Sam Kavuma were seen proceeding to the court cells arguably to stand company with their UPDF comrade.
In the courtroom, special seats for Kayihura’s wife Angella and son and daughter were prepared for the duo. The court room was filled to capacity by relatives and friends to the former police boss.
Meanwhile, the General Court Martial chairperson Lt. Gen. Andrew Gutti was ushered into the court room for the case to kick off.
Gen. Kayihura was later summoned but unusually, a special seat had been prepared for the former police boss in the dock.
The defence lawyers including Peter Kabatsi, Dr.Elly Karuhanga, Joseph Matsiko and Jet Tumwebaze introduced themselves. Lt. Gen. Gutti later asked his audience to keep calm and silent as the proceedings went on.
“I will ask my audience to be patient and quiet. Just follow proceedings and those with phones should put them in silence,” he warned.
Kayihura breaks silence
Meanwhile, Col.Richard Tukachungurwa, the court’s Judge Advocate(adviser) asked the former police boss to say a word about the composition of the members of the court.
“My lord, although I don’t know all members on the panel personally, I trust there is no problem on my side and I have no objection to any of them,”Gen.Kayihura said.
The court chairman would later proceed to read for him the charges.
The court charged the former police boss of failure to protect war materials contrary to section 122(1) (2) (d) of the UPDF Act 2005.
“Gen.Edward Kale Kayihura, between the year 2010 and 2018 on various occasions allowed the issue of arms and ammunitions to unauthorized persons including members of Boda boda 2010 led by one Abudallah Kitatta,”Lt.Gen.Gutti read the first charge.
He was also accused of failure to supervise and ensure accountability for the arms and ammunitions issued to specialized units under his office as the Inspector General of Police including the Flying Squad, Special Operations Unit, witness protection unit and the Crime Intelligence directorate of the police force.
“Between the year 2012 and 2016,by omission and commission, you aided and abetted the actions of subordinate police officers and others on various occasions without hindrance to kidnap and illegally repatriated Rwandan exiles, refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda including Lt.Joel Mutabazi, Jackson Karemera and Sgt. Innocent Karisa,”read the court chairman.
Kayihura however denied all the charges but through the court proceedings, he kept calm and was seen jotting down notes in his note book.
Apply for bail
Kayihura’s lawyers however narrated to court how he has been in incarceration since June 13 but has remained silent despite being detained beyond the mandatory 48 hours without being charged.
“He was able to endure dignity and personal discomfort. He allowed his accusers have a run through their pile of falsehoods because he knew truth would triumph, “lawyer Kabatsi told court.
However, the lawyer was interrupted by the Judge Advocate who asked him to avoid wasting court’s time and go straight to the point.
“We don’t want long statements. Go straight to the point,” Col Tukachungurwa asked the lawyers.
Meanwhile the defence lawyers asked court to have their client released on bail considering the time he had spent in detention.
Efforts by the defence lawyers to cite previous matters proved futile as the court chairman insisted that the bail could not be entertained.
In response, the Judge Adovcate warned them that bail could only be entertained after a prior formal notice on the same to the court.
Lt.Gen.Gutti added his voice by adjourning the case to August 28 hear the bail application whereas the main case has been adjourned to September 4.
Meanwhile, some of relatives and friends to Kayihura turned cold when the court refused to entertain his bail application.
Before Kayihura’s arrest, a number of close allies including senior police and army officers believed had been arrested by the army before being detained at Makindye over a number of offences that the army has kept a secret.
Among those arrested included; the former cyber-crime head Richard Ndaboine, former crime intelligence director Col Ndahura Atwooki, the former Flying Squad commander Herbert Muhangi, former Professional Standards Unit Commander Good Mwesigwa and Lt Col Peter Musherure, the former deputy police director of crime intelligence among others.
Earlier, the army had also arrested; the former Special Operations Unit commander, Senior Superintendent of Police Nixon Agasiirwe, the former PSU commander, Professional Standards Unit Joel Aguma, Assistant Superintendent of Police James Magada (Crime Intelligence), Sgt Abel Tumukunde (the Flying Squad), SPC Faisal Katende (Flying Squad), AIP Benon Atwebembeirwe and D/Cpl Amon Kwarisima attached to crime intelligence of kidnapping and repatriating Lt.Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard to Rwandan president Paul Kagame.
Boda boda 2010 patron Abdalla Kitatta and a number of the group members had too been arrested.
The former military assistant to President Museveni rose through the ranks to become a darling to the commander in chief for among others helping break opposition protests like the walk to work.
Kayihura later became one of most powerful figures in the country and the longest serving Inspector General of Police, having spent 12 years on the helm.
However, the more powerful he became and the more time he spent in the limelight, the more problems it caused for him considering the charges read to him on Friday.
All the charges read to Kayihura stemmed from his tenure as the Inspector General of Police and showed a connection between him and the close allies arrested earlier by the army.
For example he is accused of failure to supervise and ensure accountability for the arms and ammunitions issued to specialized units under his office as the Inspector General of Police including the Flying Squad, Special Operations Unit, witness protection unit and the Crime Intelligence directorate of the police force.
This charge against Kayihura would point out to police commanders like Col. Ndahura and Ndaboine(Crime Intelligence); Nixon Agasiirwe(Special Operations Unit) and Muhangi.
Charging Kayihura with aiding and abetting kidnap and illegal repatriation of Rwandan refugees and exiles would put Ndahura,Agasiirwe, Joel Aguma, James Magada , Abel Tumukunde Faisal Katende , Benon Atwebembeirwe and Amon Kwarisima in hot soup because the group had earlier been slapped with similar charges as their then boss.
The developments in the army court against Kayihura would now mean that his former point men arrested by the army two months ago but have never been brought to court are soon being charged with similar offences.
Article 122 of the UPDF Act 2005 says that a person subject to military law who fails to protect war materials commits an offence and is on conviction liable to suffer death.
The UPDF Act describes failure to protect war materials as failure to guard arms or ammunition and giving or allowing arms or ammunitions to be handled by an unauthorized person among other ingredients to the offence.