President, Yoweri Museveni has dropped Security Minister, General Henry Tumukunde and Police Chief, General Edward Kale Kayihura and in their place appointed General Ely Tumwine and Okoth Ochola respectively.
“In the Exercise of the powers vested in the President by Articles 113 (1) and 213 (2) of the Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, I hereby appoint General Elly Tumwiine as Minister for Security, Mr. Okoth Ochola as the Inspector-General of Police and Brigadier Sabiiti Muzeei as the Deputy Inspector General of Police,” reads a statement issued by Wanyama.
Although Museveni didn’t give any explanation for dropping his trusted generals, it is widely believed he dropped the duo because of their public fights. Both General Tumukunde and Kayihura have clashed in the open in the recent past. General Tumukunde has been accusing Kayihura of failing in his duties, which has given rise to numerous crimes in recent months.
At least more than 20 women were killed in a similar fashion in Wakiso district towards the end of last year. Several people including Muslim clerics, former Police Spokesperson, Assistant Inspector General of Police, Andrew Felix Kaweesi, Major Muhammad Kiggundu and Principal State Prosecutor, Joan Kagezi were gunned down by gunmen riding on motorcycles under Kayihura’s watch.
No suspect has been prosecuted successfully over the murders.
Last year, President, Museveni openly asked Kayihura to clean up the Police Force, saying it was infiltrated by criminal gangs. Two police commanders were picked up together with their juniors by the military last year and arraigned before the military court martial for alleged espionage, kidnap and illegal extradition of Rwandan nationals.
They are Joel Aguma, the Commander of the police Professional Standards Unit (PSU) and Nixon Agasirwe, the former commander of the Special Operations Unit. Aguma was implicated for kidnapping and illegally extraditing Lt Joel Mutabazi, a former bodyguard of Rwandan president, Paul Kagame.
Lt. Mutabazi was kidnapped from Sky Hotel in Naalya, a city suburb where he was living with his family in 2013 and repatriated to Rwanda. He was charged with terrorism and sentenced to life in prison. He was also stripped of his military ranks by the Military High Court in Rwanda.
Prosecution accused Mutabazi of terrorism, setting up an armed group, spreading rumors with the intention of inciting the public to rise up against the state, murder, crimes against the state, illegal possession of a firearm and deserting the military.
The news of Kayihura’s sacking has generated excitement across the country with several people taking to social media to express their feelings.
“We cried and prayed for change at the top. And finally some of our prayers are answered. Congratulations IGP Okoth Ochola,” read a comment by former Regional Cooperation Minister State Minister, Asuman Kiyingi.
The former IGP took over the leadership of Uganda Police in 2005 replacing General Edward Katumba Wamala. Prior to his appointment as IGP, Kayihura served as the Commandant of the Special Revenue Protection Services, a unit charged with fighting smuggling. He also served as the operational commander of Ugandan troops on Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo-DRC.