President Yoweri Museveni has fired police boss Gen Kale Kayihura and security minister Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde.
Gen Elly Tumwine a bush war hero who fired the first shot of the NRA war has been appointed as the new minister of Security while Okoth Ochola is the new Inspector-General of Police (IGP).
Ochola will be deputised by Brig Sabiiti Muzeyi, the former head of Military Police who was appointed last year following his stint as deputy Commander of Special Forces.
Kayihura, a self-confessed ruling NRM party cadre has been the longest serving IGP; having been appointed in 2005. Museveni reappointed him to the position in May 2017 for at least another three years. Tumukunde was appointed security minister in July 2016.
During their reign, the country has witnessed unprecedented spate of criminality in the country with murders, kidnaps, armed robberies on the increase in Wakiso, Masaka, Gulu, Mukono.
When asked recently about the fight between police and Internal Security Organisation (ISO) under Tumukunde, Museveni said the fight was between the top leadership and not the officials.
The climax of Tumukunde and Kayihura’s troubles seems to have been the kidnap of 28-year-old Susan Magara on February 7 and her eventual murder last week after 20 days in captivity.
Her kidnappers cut off two of her fingers and sent them to the family and a video of her torture. They demanded a $1 million (about Shs 3.5 billion) ransom and Museveni was reportedly in touch with the family during the 3-week ordeal.
At Magara’s burial in Hoima, Tumukunde admitted that government had failed to rescue Magara and asked citizens to watch over themselves and their property.
Kayihura and Tumukunde have both blamed the increasing criminality on the failure of their respective agencies.
The two generals have allegedly had a long-standing rift since 2005 when Kayihura oversaw Tumukunde’s arrest and subsequent prosecution in the Army Court Martial for abuse of office and spreading harmful propaganda. Tumukunde, then an army MP, had spoken out on Radio One against the amendment of the Constitution to remove presidential term limits.
At the time, Tumukunde was cultivating a risky reputation as a regime critic from his perch as one of the 10 army MPs. The dramatic arrest was sanctioned based on a report Kayihura, who was thriving as the blue-eyed military assistant to Museveni, and chief political commissar of the UPDF, had written.
Tumukunde was sentenced to a serious reprimand, subjected to the twin humiliation of a lengthy detention at the Kololo officers’ mess. He was also withdrawn from the cushy position of representing the army in parliament.
That same year (2005), Kayihura was promoted to major general and appointed police chief, an office he has enthusiastically used to brutally clamp down on political opposition to Museveni’s presidency.
Ten years later, Tumukunde was back in favour. In 2015, Museveni was assembling forces to counter the unusual leadership challenge presented by his long-time confidant, former prime minister Amama Mbabazi.
Museveni set Tumukunde to work, infiltrating and neutralising Mbabazi’s considerable networks. His long-held wish to retire from the army was also finally granted in September that year, with a promotion from brigadier to lieutenant general.
In July 2016, a new cabinet was announced in which he was named security minister, a docket that brought a rehabilitated Tumukunde into direct confrontation with the police chief.
In September last year, when mysterious murders of women in Nansana and Entebbe were rampant, the two generals opened parallel investigations into the unexplained murders, forcing a visibly unsettled Kayihura to publicly hit at Tumukunde.
Recently, Kayihura accused Internal Security Organisation (ISO) under Tumukunde’s leadership of collaborating with criminals the police had prosecuted like Paddy Sserunjogi aka Sobi.
Following the brutal murder of police spokesperson Andrew Felix Kaweesi last year, Museveni urged Kayihura to clean the police of criminals.