WITCH HUNT: WHEN UGANDANS KNOW THE TRUTH BUT CONTINUE TO LIE

There are few worse things than being falsely accused. I remember listening to a lady on the radio describe that she cannot read any book where anyone is being falsely accused of a crime. It upsets her too much. The fact that Gen. Kale Kayihura is being accused of the murder of the late AIGP Andrew Felix Kaweesi is the perfect example of a man being crucified. What happened to all the people at Kaweesi’s eulogy who thanked Kayihura for spotting and nurturing Kaweesi’s talent to rise up the ranks as he did? Why can’t you, and all of Uganda who watched Kayihura trust and rely on Kaweesi more than anyone use any rationale and come forward to stop this clear witch hunt? What happened to the speeches at the vigil in Kaweesi’s home where all of you thanked Kayihura for promoting and seeing the potential in Kaweesi? For being more than a boss and a mentor? For being his friend and an inspiration?

There were rumors of a new appointment for Kayihura in July, and following his meeting with the President in May, the forces against him decided to act quickly using fabricated evidence before he was back in Government. They could not pin anything against a man who has been incorruptible. There were no deals, no wealth, no assets – nothing to pin him down. So these forces resorted to lies.

I was stunned to find out that Kayihura is, in fact, not wealthy at all – especially compared to all senior Government officials. Even compared to many Government officials below him. Ask any international partners with the Police, some who even nicknamed him Inspector General of the People, realizing he was different from the rest. He was never after any amassing of wealth, and thus was a threat. His incorruptibility and integrity made him the biggest threat to anyone who needed to make the President more vulnerable.

But what control do you have when all your support is in the poor masses? And all that has sustained Kayihura in the past, and now, is good will from those who know him, and understand that the witch hunt has used a successful campaign of character assassination for the past few years.

Even as IGP, Kayihura suffered in the last few years working with security agencies. ISO, CMI and CID are filled with his enemies, and now that he’s gone – they’ve side-lined the people who chose work over politics. I wonder if this hatred is based on tribalism – do people hate Bafumbira because of their cultural connection to Banyarwanda? I believe it’s more than that in the case of Kale Kayihura – I believe they feared that they have nothing against him; and over the years decided to falsify things about him to damage his reputation and public image. So that when these charges came, people would not dismiss them so easily.

I once asked someone who interacted with the General why he doesn’t fight back against the media. He said that Kayihura doesn’t have the desire or money to pay them to counter the stories with the truth. He also said Kayihura believes in the inherent good of people, and that all lies blow over. He believed that by working consistently – they would eventually leave him alone.

But Kayihura was wrong in believing in the good in people. He should have believed in the desperation in people. Anyone can see that his entire image of working to build a powerful and strong Police force, that has never had more Police officers, more infrastructure, and more equipment has been completely tarnished and ignored over this need to focus on his individual. Which is wrongfully portrayed.

So far, the forces against him have succeeded but in many ways, they haven’t since Kayihura made himself available to the masses who know him. They know who he is, and anyone that meets this man knows for certain that the last thing he could ever be is a criminal of any sort.

The fact that Kayihura can’t be bought also led to enemies on the other side of the border in Rwanda. He consistently refused to be compromised or coerced to hasten any lawful procedures. Even the handover of a prominent Rwandan refugee to the Rwandan Government some 4 years ago occurred when Kayihura was out of the country. The officer in charge was promptly dismissed, only to be brought back quite recently, after taking responsibility and with permission from the President. He was a good officer who the Police couldn’t afford to lose.

Kayihura was not loyal to NRM, he is loyal to the President, and that vision that drove him to leave a lectureship persuaded by his Professors at the London School of Economics after he finished his LLM. He in fact pleaded with a friend at the time to help him pick up a gun and join the NRA in 1983.

Kayihura was not desperate. He did not need to fight because he had no options – he wanted to. It was pure conviction. And as such, he was never desperate for a job. When one is full of idealism as he – it is hard to think that enemies abound and are constantly plotting. He believed in truth, and that idealism has hurt him greatly. Especially now.

Not only are they discrediting him in the eyes of the public (lies of exorbitant amounts of wealth – when he does not own any home in Kampala, or any finished home anywhere), but also in the eyes his contemporaries (being stopped at the airport, being sick).

Kayihura unfortunately believed that all this would go away. He especially believed so after his removal, and had just gotten into the groove of being a farmer and serving his community in Kashagama, Lyantonde. He insisted on using his own funds to get the cleanest underground water through a tap for all in the community to make use of, not just himself.

How can someone so generous and so of the people be made out to be a killer? This really baffles me – that Ugandans could persecute a genuine and possibly the best public servant. Yet they consistently complain that there are none to be found.

Out of respect for the President and the Government, Kayihura chose not to go to Kisoro after his removal. Kisoro was angry with the President, and he did not want to go home knowing how it might look if his people might gather at his home. The people of Kisoro know what it is like to be maligned as Bafumbira. They are a small district, seen as unimpressive and even unknown to many Ugandans, but they inhabit this country like any other citizen. Even Kayihura himself, a whole General and Senior official was despised by his fellow Westerners who are said to have insulted his identity on numerous occasions. Including the security agencies he worked with. Even in the same region, people harbour ethnic hatred and misguided superiority over another.

Uganda has reached a new low. The media has reached a new low. I know the economy is bad and everyone needs a pay out, every one has bills to pay. But I implore you journalists who have been paid to write malicious and untrue things over the last three years: you are the ones who made Kayihura become this falsified larger-than-life figure he never wanted a part of. Come forward. Tell the truth. Do not leave your conscience tainted by the crucifixion of an innocent man – one whose unjust demonization you have greatly contributed to.

The witch hunt began in 2015, and seems to have gathered steam from everyone who feels wronged by him. Director CID Grace Akullo even once said he wanted to kill her – she was hostile and insubordinate towards him during his entire tenure. He left it at that, knowing when to pick his battles. She refused to participate and cooperated grudgingly. Wherever her information came from, it worked for the forces against Kayihura who seem to have since recruited her.

One wonders why DG ISO Kaka Bagyenda is even a part of this team against Kayihura, when Kayihura was allegedly asked to help when Kaka’s son last year was faced with killing his girlfriend. Kayihura obliged of course, feeling comraderie in such a tragic time for Bagyenda.

CMI, whose leads the entire 2017 consisted of strong evidence against ADF for killing Kaweesi, including traced calls. How could they suddenly change their tune? In the middle of prosecution? CMI’s key people, like a certain Tumukunde before and a certain Abel Kandiho now have peddled untrue reports to the President and the media about Kayihura. Including some about Presidential ambitions.

Whatever these people have against Kayihura now, to pin him on Kaweesi’s death is no evidence. Maybe they decided to pursue this case to create media furore and frenzy; and damage the man’s name for their own personal and misguided grudges, beliefs, and deep-rooted hatred for Bafumbira and Ugandan Banyarwanda, whose only home is Uganda.

I want to end with this: how does anyone come out of this with the same idealism for Uganda? When instead of persecuting clearly corrupt and reprehensible individuals – Uganda harbours and saves them.

Uganda has killed the spirit of a person who loved the country more than himself, and sacrificed his life, his family, and now his name for it. I have washed my hands of this crucifixion publically with this writing. I hope you find the courage to do so as well, in whatever way you can.

Bring peace to the Kaweesi family. Stop sitting on the clear evidence of ADF’s direct involvement in this, and leave Kayihura and all the officers who served him alone. It is a disgrace to keep bringing up their trauma for your own trumped up and malicious agendas. To use Kaweesi’s death in this manner – and persecute a man he so admired and loved – is the crime here. That is the only crime here.

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