Kayihura apologises for his police mistakes
Shortly before 10am, Gen Kale Kayihura walked into the police headquarters at Naguru, a Kampala suburb. He was clad in a ceremonial military uniform with the full pips of a UPDF General.
This was the last time Kayihura was officially coming to the police headquarters as Inspector General of Police (IGP).
He appeared uncomfortable with the journalists’ cameras as he walked into his former office where he got locked in a meeting with his successor Martin Okoth Ochola, Deputy IGP Muzeeyi Sabiiti, Internal Affairs minister Gen Jeje Odong and the State Minister for Internal Affairs Mario Obiga Kania.
Thirty minutes later, they walked into the main boardroom where other police chiefs and journalists were waiting.
Kayihura stayed back for some minutes, creating anxiety, especially among journalists that he had chosen to skip the ceremonial handover before the press.
“He is coming; he’s the one we are waiting for,” Emilian Kayima, the police spokesman told journalists.
Kayihura took about 27 minutes reading his handover speech that was punctuated with praises for President Yoweri Museveni as well as veiled attacks on his critics.
In what appeared to be a response to statements by Ochola, his successor, last week when he (Ochola) appeared before Parliament’s Appointments Committee, Kayihura said, having work with Ochola as his deputy, they both share the responsibility for achievements and failures.
“The fact that it’s Mr. Ochola who has been appointed shows that the Commander in Chief appreciates that something good has been done by our team.” Kayihura said.
Before the MPs, Ochola blamed Kayihura for promoting cliques in force, working with criminal gangs and killing professionalism among other things.
Kayihura said he did not want to go into the controversies that dogged the police during his tenure but apologized for his mistakes.
“I may have fallen short in my assignment but I’m only human, but I deeply regret,” Kayihura said.
“In case there are some feet I stepped on, I am sorry, it was not because I had some personal issues, I was only doing my job, and for the peace and stability of the country,” he added.
Kayihura has been IGP since November 2005 which makes him the longest serving IGP Uganda has had, but leaves behind a police with a tainted image.
“In spite of the recent bad image, I’m handing over a police force that is in a much better shape than when I took over and no one can deny that. I believe strongly that the force is now built on a strong foundation and is heading in the right direction,” Kayihura said.
He read out a number of achievements the police force registered during his time but singled out a reduced crime index as his biggest achievement.
“During my tenure, crime went down. And you cannot rub it from my record,” Kayihura said.
But the recent spike in criminality is a thing that will haunt him. Since 2014, the country has witnessed a number of high profile killings whose motive remains unexplained.
Museveni last week during the International Women’s Day celebrations in Mityana raised his own questions and displeasure with the way the police have responded to the killings. It is the challenge that Odong asked Ochola and Sabiiti to deal with first.
“Your first challenge is the negative image that the police has acquired over the past few months. What are you going to do about it?” Gen Odong wondered.
“It is a fact we can’t wish away. Like I mentioned in the police council meeting, you need to look into yourselves; that negative image is the biggest challenge you have to deal with,” Odong said.
The second challenge he mentioned is the increased criminality.
“The spike in crime; the various incidents of crime, some being high profile, incidents have painted a bad picture, crime is a function of our society and does not happen in isolation,” Odong said.