KAMPALA — The US government has slapped economic and travel sanctions to Gen Kale Kayihura and his family, accusing the former Inspector General of Police of gross human rights violations.
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.
“Specifically, the Department has credible information that Kayihura was involved in torture and/or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment, through command responsibility of the Flying Squad, a specialized unit of the Uganda Police Force that reported directly to Kayihura. The Treasury Department is concurrently designating Kayihura pursuant to Executive Order (E.O.) 13818, which builds upon and implements the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act,” the statement adds.
The US Department said it is also publicly designating his spouse, Angela Umurisa Gabuka, his daughter, Tesi Uwibambe, and his son, Kale Rudahigwa as per the law.
“Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members.”
The US government said that actions against Gen Kayihura underscore their concern with human rights violations and abuses in Uganda, as well as our support for accountability for those who engage in such violations and abuses.
‘We call on the Ugandan government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly,” it adds.
In Executive Order 13818, the US President declared a national emergency with respect to serious human rights abuses and corruption globally, which constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Through this E.O., the President has authorized the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of State to impose economic sanctions and visa restrictions, respectively, on persons determined, among other things, to be responsible for or complicit in, or to have directly or indirectly engaged in, serious human rights abuse or corruption.
The development further exacerbates the former police chief’s fortunes. He was last March sacked as police chief and two months later arrested and charged in the army court with several offences, including unlawful repatriation of Rwanda refugees.