In Summary
  • Speculation. The increasing violence over the years, slowly fuelled the public’s fury leading to wider speculations that maybe Kayihura was not capable of wielding such power alone. Maybe he was under instructions from higher spheres.
  • The general’s claims quickly signalled security threats and rumours of a possible plot against president Muhammadu Buhari. Although Buhari had travelled to London for medical treatment at the time, upon return there was a reshuffle and redeployment in the Nigerian army.

Recently at a burial of former minister Matthew Rukikaire’s son in Rukungiri District, Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde made remarks that shocked some mourners. He mentioned Opposition figure Col Dr Kizza Besigye as being one of the most powerful men.

The general’s comments may have been purely nostalgic based on personal reasons.
To the public, the comments were surprising because power is associated with military might, usually freely demonstrated by gun-wielding unidentified people in civilian clothes beating and terrorising civilians amid tear gas alongside the police.

The brutality of power seen under hypnotic loyalty, experienced by many Ugandans under Inspector General Police (IGP) Kale Kayihura is unforgettable.
Gen Kayihura recently fell from grace after almost 13 years in which terror was dished out like an Italian Mafia film script. The display of violence by the police and unknown assailants under Kayihura’s term in office leaves a dark legacy.

The increasing violence over the years, slowly fuelled the public’s fury and added suspicions leading to wider speculations that maybe Kayihura was not capable of wielding such power alone. Maybe he was under instructions from higher spheres. Whatever the case maybe, the scene was already set and the chances of Kayihura being a great IGP seems to have been compromised along the way.

Kayihura’s tenure is ingrained in many people’s hearts and minds with disdain. For a man that seemed coherent, lucid, highly educated, a charismatic army general, he seems to have been operating under a spell that made him look the other way whenever civilians were mistreated, beaten and violently arrested under the watchful eye of the police.

Security for Ugandans had been somehow compromised, with different code of conduct; not for protection of life and property anymore.
To rein back control over security, the unimaginable happened when the commander-in-chief invoked his powers that relieved the powerful generals of their duties.

Some people say Kayihura is simply the fall guy, but will be redeployed. While others say drawing from past experience, Gen Tumukunde with a less brutal, turbulent addiction to power is the one who is more likely to be redeployed.

Although the future remains uncertain for both generals, the recent reshuffle has left many people wondering if there were other reasons besides the recent unsolved murders, especially of women around Wakiso District.

Conspiracies
Rumours of political intrigue, invisible powers and compromised loyalty roam endlessly among different groups. And sensitive are such rumours that in 2017, Nigerian general Buratai alleged that invisible forces had approached top army officers suspiciously

The general’s claims quickly signalled security threats and rumours of a possible plot against president Muhammadu Buhari. Although Buhari had travelled to London for medical treatment at the time, upon return there was a reshuffle and redeployment in the Nigerian army.

In Uganda there is a time and place for everything and issues of national security must be left to the generals as it is popularly known.
But following the recent wave of mysterious deaths and murders, the new weave of crime has created intense anxiety and speculation.

To the visible eye, a security power shift has occurred but people are unsure in which direction, it remains to be seen with the newly appointed team.

Ms Victoria Nyeko is a media commentator.
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Twitter:@VictoriaNyeko