President Museveni has explained to the top leadership organ of the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM) why he fired former Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura.
Museveni met the Central Executive Committee of National Resistance Movement at State House Entebbe on November 10, 2018, eight months after the sacking and subsequent charging of Gen Kayihura.
According to multiple sources who attended the meeting, Museveni “strongly believes” that Kayihura made serious mistakes in executing his duties which could have weakened efforts to combat insecurity in Uganda.
Museveni said one of the major blunders made by Kayihura was changing of communication in Police from two-way radio to cell (mobile) phones.
“Police had largely migrated from the traditional radio to mobile phones,” Museveni reportedly said.
Radios provide two-way instant communication with all connected users.
Government security and defense agencies worldwide prefer radios since it saves time in emergency situations where quick response is needed.
Meanwhile, cellphones, commonly known by Ugandans as mobile phones, only support a limited one-on-one communication not preferable for time-sensitive situations in which multiple people need to respond like in police operations.
According to Museveni, use of cell phones limited the capacity of police in responding to emergencies.
“Radios quickly help in emergencies since everyone gets the information and acts in time,” Museveni told the attentive CEC.
In regard to security, radios also allow encryption to conceal data to prevent unauthorized access and are usually difficult to tap unlike cell phones.
But an official in police who spoke on condition of anonymity, said “we diversify our communication means depending on the nature of the communication required. The use of mobile phones supplement radio and all are effective.”
The Internal Affairs Ministerial Policy Statement of 2014/2015 indicates that Uganda Telecom Limited was demanding police Shs 404m in communication charges.
If the above figure is annual, police was spending Shs 33.6m on airtime monthly.
Kayihura’s associates said he is unable to talk to the media as he is still on bail granted by the Court Martial.
While the use of mobile phones angered President Museveni, many police commanders use the features of smartphones such as WhatsApp to mobile communities in community policing activities.
WhatsApp is used by the public to alert police on wrong doors and even provide more evidence in the form of pictures, video and audio recordings thus facilitating investigations.
This is not possible with radio call handsets.
The smartphones also increase the interactivity between police and the public as the means of communication is user-friendly compared to radio call gadgets.
Gen Kayihura was charged with aiding and abetting the kidnapping by commission, repatriating Rwandan exile and refugees and Ugandan citizens to Rwanda between 2012 and 2016.
He was also accused of failing to protect war material by issuing arms to unauthorized persons including Boda Boda 2010 members led by jailed Abdallah Kitatta between 2010 and 2018.
The details of the meeting are still classified. The presidency did not issue a statement about the meeting.
NRM Secretariat Communication’s Officer, Rogers Mulindwa confirmed the meeting but said he didn’t attend.
“Yes, there was a meeting on Saturday but I didn’t attend it since it was my Sabbath day,” said Mr Mulindwa.
The last CEC meeting took place in January 2018.