Museveni, Kayihura locked in mind game

Why hasn’t former police boss, Gen Kale Kayihura, been charged in a court of law 25 days after he was arrested on June 13? Why until now hasn’t he challenged his unlawful detention without being charged in a court of law?

When Gen Kayihura was arrested by the military and it was announced that he was being interrogated over issues the military did not specify, the natural next step would be to have him arraigned before the military court. But the term of the military court led by Lt Gen Andrew Gutti had expired.

President Museveni cleared the roadblock by reappointing him to chair the military court on June 19.

But three weeks after Gen Gutti was reappointed and the General Military Court Martial reconstituted, speculation was rife that Gen Kayihura’s day in court had arrived.

But the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) has continued to lounge in his detention centre in Makindye barracks, in a house that sources say was spruced up for his use in the days leading to his arrest.

A source who says he has visited Gen Kayihura in detention told Sunday Monitor that he seems relaxed, cracks jokes and it is hard to read signs of bitterness in his speech or demeanor.

He says the general has taken to reading book titles he had been denied time to read during the years he was in service and has access to television.

Lawyers quiet
So, despite engaging Kampala Associated Advocates, one of the most highly regarded law firms in the country, no application has been filed in court to compel the State to produce Gen Kayihura in court or release him.

Gen Kayihura was arrested together with some of the individuals he closely worked with during the time he was in charge of the police Force, including former Flying Squad Unit commander Herbert Muhangi.

All the individuals who were arrested around the same time with Gen Kayihura have until now kept quiet in custody, except Col Ndahura Atwooki, formerly in charge of crime intelligence in the police, whose wife filed a habeas corpus application and got a ruling in her favour for her husband to be charged in a court of law or be released.

Col Ndahura was on June 29 charged in a closed session of a military disciplinary unit at the army headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, a session from which we have since heard conflicting accounts.

The Attorney General has since told the High Court that Col Ndahura pleaded guilty to the charges of “interfering with the process of law” that were brought against him and is awaiting sentencing, something Col Ndahura’s lawyers have disputed.

The session was closed even to Col Ndahura’s lawyers and it is said that he refused to say anything in court in the absence of his lawyers.

Sources familiar with what is going on say Gen Kayihura’s plan is to let things play out and not be seen to push President Museveni’s hand the same way Col Ndahura did, for instance.

In reality, then, it turns into a game of President Museveni and his former trusted lieutenant sitting still, each poring over his cards and waiting for who will blink first.

The theories

Museveni options.

Observers put forward a number of theories to explain what this is happening. One such theory is that whereas President Museveni gathered a lot of information about Gen Kayihura’s activities before ordering the arrest, he may need more time to sift through it and determine which of it is credible and can perhaps stand in court if it comes to that.

The other theory is that President Museveni may just have got Gen Kayihura arrested because while the former police chief was loose, he was unable to assess the threat he posed, if any, at a time when insecurity was spiraling.

One view that insiders hold is that President Museveni is burdened by having to hold Gen Kayihura in custody, one of the reasons for that being that it affects the loyalty he may command from those serving him now, since Gen Kayihura is one of those who previously served him very well. It would perhaps be worse if Gen Kayihura had to stand trial.

For this reason, some sources who second-guess President Museveni, say it is likely that Gen Kayihura will only be taken to court if the President is convinced that the former police chief was involved in things that threaten his continued stay in power.

This is something that Gen Kayihura understands all too well, multiple individuals we talked to for this article believe.

This is the reason they believe Gen Kayihura has kept quiet in Makindye and not come out to openly challenge his boss in the same fashion former Bush War fighters such as Dr Kizza Besigye, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi and Lt Gen Henry Tumukunde, did.

Many expect this to soften Mr Museveni’s stance towards Gen Kayihura unless there is evidence of subversion on the former police boss’s part.

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