On March 15, 2018, General Kale Kayihura handed over the reins of the police chief position after twelve years in the role, touting his achievements and addressing ongoing challenges. His handover report provides insight into his tenure.
During his time as police chief, General Kayihura oversaw significant growth in the police force. He expanded the number of directorates from five to 18 and specialized and command units from four to 19. The number of police stations also increased from 101 in 2005 to 1,676 in 2018. According to his report, this expansion contributed to a declining crime rate in Uganda since 2006.
In his report, General Kayihura acknowledged that his early years as police chief coincided with a period of political turbulence caused by changes in the country’s political landscape. The removal of Article 249 from the Constitution led to increased political space, giving rise to what he referred to as “irresponsible Opposition” activities.
The transition to multiparty politics in Uganda in 2005 brought its own challenges, including the return of Dr. Kizza Besigye from self-exile and subsequent political tensions. General Kayihura claimed success in addressing these challenges, particularly the post-2016 election period, which he described as a time of “unprecedented peace and stability.”
However, his tenure was not without controversies. Unsolved killings, such as those of Andrew Felix Kaweesi and Joan Kagezi, remained issues for his successor, Mr. Martins Okoth Ochola. General Kayihura’s success in prosecuting terrorism suspects was limited, with notable convictions related to the 2010 Kampala twin bombings and the Tabliq sect leader’s case later overturned by the Court of Appeal in 2021.
One notable achievement missing from his report was the arrest of the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) leader Jamal Mukulu in 2015, which General Kayihura had compared to the capture of Osama bin Laden.
Despite his efforts to enhance the police force’s capabilities, General Kayihura recognized unaddressed welfare issues, including accommodation, healthcare, family income, and education for children of police personnel. He proposed the creation of a directorate of welfare and supported initiatives like savings and credit cooperatives and government poverty alleviation programs to improve officers’ well-being.