The news of Gen Kale Kayihura’s sacking could have landed with a whole bundle of joy for the masses all over, even within the force, but love to hate him, Kayihura’s legacy is solid and sound.
Gen Kayihura joined the force as a Maj General in 2005, replacing another Maj General in Katumba Wamala, who had been serving as IGP since April 2001.
As is the pattern of Museveni’s reshuffles, he quickly promoted Katumba to Lt General and stretched the army structure to accommodate him as commander for land forces and a new position was created titled- Chief of Defence Forces (CDF).
Kayihura joined the police when it was being rinsed of criminality, it was at the time when the Operation Wembley was pursuing anything that was tagged criminal.
The police were also poorly funded, very low on human resource and limited in operation needs. One officer during a conversation with this reporter hinted; “We had about 10 patrol vans in the entire city.”
The police now have more than 50 Armoured Personnel Carriers (APCs), above 40 ambulances. Patrol pickups have also increased from 100 to over 500, troop carriers from 0 to over 40, saloon cars from 30 to more than 250 and motorcycles from 5 to thousands.
By the time Kayihura joined the force, only 14,000 officers were available for deployment to a population above 26million Ugandans. On the 14,000, only 10 percent had seen formal education to university level.
Kayihura in the same year recruited twice the number he found, and opened two police schools to facilitate their training. With the force starting to look like the real deal that it should be, Kayihura then created 20 more directorates and beckoned intellectuals in Fred Yiga, Asan Kasingye, Grace Turyagumanawe and the likes, whom he ranked AIGPs and gave them capacity to operate the directorates.
Among directorates created include; Human Rights and Legal, Fire prevention and rescue services, Police health services, forensic services, parliamentary police, crime intelligence, ICT and Oil and Gas.
Other directories are; Police Commissariat, Peace and support operations, special duties, research, planning and development and logistics and engineering among others.
One challenge Kayihura faced at the end was, the directories were still more than the qualified men he had hired, the General then decided to pick from the public. The ICT directorate for instance was led by a one Amos Ngabirano who was a civilian prior, but with a little police knowledge, he was assimilated into the force and painted with a rank.
This opened Kayihura’s direct dealing with the public. Not to mention that this harvesting system would later create him trouble when he picked bad apples in Abudallah Kitatta, Nixon Agasiirwe and a litany of alleged criminals who have arguably led to his down fall.
With the creation of more offices, came the need to sustain the occupants, as a result Kayihura became literally a perpetual beggar in parliamentary committees. He persuaded MPs with all his might to ensure the police budget is revised upwards.
At the same time, he ran to the public and asked them to contribute fuel, police posts among others, which he really got by the way.
It is on record the police’s budget has consistently been revised upwards each year of Kayihura’s stay in office. For instance, from about Shs72b in 2005 when Kayihura joined to more than Shs 400b today.
However, it seems Kayihura’s begging was as consistent as his extravagance, for just weeks before his sacking, the force was left impecunious and staring at a utilities bill of a whooping Shs130b. Forget that he was already lobbying to have it written off.
To whom much is given, much more is expected, Kayihura lived with the pressure of justifying the money bags he asked for, or creating situation for the need of human resource, and well he had the answers always, and there is that specific answer that helped things get in line- Community Policing.
In 2016, Kayihura publicly bragged that the force had recruited and engaged over 11 million crime preventers, this was more than half of the voters’ register and you can do the math.
The 11 million were to start a replica of Obote’s Mayumba Kumi and well they were distributed T-shirts, armed with sticks and deployed. Almost everyday, there was a pass-out for crime preventers.
The crime preventers recruitment alone was good for the force and for reducing crime, only they were too many to be facilitated, they soon would become crime creators, and just like they were passed out, they started passing out of the police force albeit involuntarily.
Kayihura served his boss President Museveni whole heartedly, that it is no rumour he delivered the later victory on all occasions. He would whip whoever showed signs of ticking a different candidate on the ballot box, he was a night mare to opposition politicians and left them wailing like Lukwago.
Kayihura did very little to hide his identity that one time it was believed he would put on an NRM T-shirt under the police uniform (sic).
Kale the man became famous at one time when an audio leaked of him cracking down Mbabazi youth, nani was something else.
He recently went on record saying those against the age limit were wasting time, and this was all evident in the police deployment, even the pummeling of MPs that had turned weaver birds in the House, chorusing the National Anthem incessantly, it is Kayihura who came to claim the dirty work when everybody was trying to distance themselves from the act.
He was a true cadre just like his boss had labeled him and his true cadreship was enclosed in a gift of the NRM bus symbol he gave President Museveni in Kisoro.
Kayihura’s submissiveness to President Museveni could again have cost him, for his earned himself hate, ridicule and abuse.
One journalist always said: “We have yet another year of abusing Kayihura after all.” The same journalist says; “In this world, there are powerful people, not powerful positions.”