KAMPALA – Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago has said the opposition will not sympathise with Gen Kale Kayihura after he was sanctioned by the US government, arguing that many of them suffered under his tenure as police chief.
US Secretary of State last Friday announced that they had put economic sections and a travel ban on Gen Kayihura, for alleged human rights violations during his time as former Inspector General of Police.
However, Mr Lukwago said Gen Kayihura was responsible for harassing opposition members.
“During his reign, our private parts were squeezed… he had us cry, restricted our movements. Which prison haven’t we been detained in? Unknown gazetted houses? He can’t say he was acting on orders from ‘above’. He has to own up,” he said in an interview on Tuesday.
“If you understand what we’ve gone through, and the magnitude of the challenges we are grappling with, you’d be in a celebratory mood right now,” he added.
In a statement published by the US State Department on Friday, September 13, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said they have credible information that Gen Kayihura was involved in torturing civilians using the Flying Squad, a specialized unit of the Uganda Police Force.
“The Department is publicly designating Kale Kayihura, the former Inspector General of the Uganda Police Force and its commanding officer from 2005-2018, under Section 7031(c) of the FY 2019 Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights,” the statement reads in part.
Although Gen Kayihura has described as outrageous and comical the decision by the US government to slap travel and economic sanctions on him, Mr Lukwago said the former police chief’s defence is equally ridiculous.
“Kale Kayihura had taken a very low key profile and suddenly he comes out to pen a defence which he puts in the court of public opinion. Right now, Kayihura carries a tag of a very dangerous person globally. He is a social deviant. An outcast,” he said.
“I’ve heard him (Kayihura) say he doesn’t own property in the USA but that doesn’t matter because maybe his children might want to go there. I’ve heard him cry foul about the right to a fair hearing. For the first time, I see Kayihura standing passionately to defend the right to a fair hearing. There’s what they call command responsibility; you don’t need to have acted personally. As long as you commanded a force that unleashed terror, you’re culpable,” he added.