Kayihura’s arrest causes a Social media frenzy

Makerere University Political Science lecturer, Dr Suzie Muwanga once said a day is too long in the political life of a country; what starts like a normal day in the morning by evening might have morphed into a revolution.

Well, we don’t have a revolution yet but the speed at which things move in Uganda not even the best fortune teller can with precision predict what will happen the following day. As the country was still getting to terms with the news of the grisly murder of Arua Municipality legislator, Ibrahim Abiriga, his brother Said Kongo, and the subsequent melodrama such as the arrest of Mukono Municipality MP Betty Nambooze, the order by president Museveni to ban wearing hoods among others, the country was treated to yet another ‘juicy’ breaking news of the arrest of former Inspector General of Police Gen Kale Kayihura.

Two years ago, no one would have thought even remotely that a man who was arguably the most powerful after Museveni could be where he is now. Ugandans especially on Social Media learnt to hate this man.

Other than the death of George Agaba, the former Kampala Capital City Authority director for physical planning, there hasn’t been a much celebrated misfortune of someone on Social media like the arrest of Kayihura.

Those celebrating have an axe to grind with a man once referred to as a loyal cadre of the NRM by Museveni. A man who saw the police force’s budget grow from a mere Shs 80billion to almost Shs 600billion.

Those sympathetic to opposition figures like the FDC’s strongman Kizza Besigye say Kayihura presided over a rogue police force that terrorised Museveni’s real and perceived enemies.

He closed the political space so much that demonstrations were outlawed not only in Kampala but across the country. Journalist Joseph Lukyamuzi writing on his Facebook wall suggested that if people don’t feel for Kayihura they should at least sympathize with his relatives.

Of the more than 20 people who had commented on the post by the time we accessed, none of them agreed with him. “Why would I feel for the [Kayihura] relatives? Kaweesi was killed in broad day light… Besigye tortured like there is no tomorrow, tear gas everywhere, sleeping in police cells, house arrest after rigging our victory in 2016…” Muwanguzi Lucky commented on Lukyamuzi’s post. Journalist Eraisa Mukiibi Sserunjogi says actually Kayihura wasn’t in the first place fit to become the country’s chief police officer let alone hold any public office.

“Kale had done his home work and noticed that Museveni needed someone who he would rely on to stave off the challenge from his most enduring opponent. He devised a plan t foil Besigye,” Mukiibi writes on his wall.

Another journalist Sadab Kitatta who first wondered why military protocol of arresting officers was not followed when arresting a man who presided over the arrest and torture of thousand others mostly on tramped up charges. The response to his post were as revealing as telling the extent to which the man from Kisoro is loathed by Ugandans.

“This world! So, Kale Kayihura will most likely meet in jail with the people he framed and arrested. Some of them he tortured at Nalufenya,” Kitatta wrote. Other than the politically inclined, another cluster of people most pleased with Kayihura’s fall from grace to grass are the Muslim faithfuls.

They accuse him of Islamophobia. In the last major murders that have left the country frightened most if not all those accused of being behind them are Muslims. Talk of those either convicted or absolved of the 2010 twin bombing in Kampala, the murder of more than a dozen sheikhs, the murder of prosecutor Joan Kagezi, AIGP Andrew FelIX Kaweesi; the culprits were all Muslims.

“Allah is great when we prayed for His intervention some people called us crazy but we know He is fair. Everyone who has had a hand in causing suffering to the Muslim community is going to pay for his crimes,” renown political commentator, Makola Kavuma writes on his Facebook timeline. For now no one knows what is going to happen next and what crimes if any, are going to be slapped on Kayihura.

What is for sure however, it will be hard for him to rise up from the hole he finds himself in. And at least for now, his opponents have had the last laugh; how long that laugh lasts; it is everyone’s guess.