What is at Stake as US Slaps Sanctions on Former IGP Kayihura

  • by Gift Nalwoga
  • September 14, 2019

The United States government has announced visa and economic sanctions against the former Inspector General of the Uganda Police Force Kale Kayihura. The designation of Kayihura is allegedly due to his involvement in gross violations of human rights.

The announcement was made through the United States Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) this evening. A statement announcing the move indicated that Gen. Kayihura is designated for having been a leader or official of an entity that engaged in serious human rights abuses against Ugandan citizens, as well as for his involvement in corruption.

“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,” the statement reads.

The section provides that in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that foreign officials have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, they 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.  In addition to the public designation of Kale Kayihura, the Department is also designating his spouse, Angela Umurisa Gabuka, his daughter, Tesi Uwibambe, and his son, Kale Rudahigwa.

The Department said that it has credible information that Kayihura was involved in torture and 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 him.

The Flying Squad Unit members reportedly used sticks and rifle butts to abuse detainees at the infamous Nalufenya detention facility. Detainees also reported that after being subjected to the abuse they were offered significant sums of money if they confessed to their involvement in a crime.

In addition, Kayihura allegedly engaged in numerous acts of corruption, including using bribery to strengthen his political position within the Government of Uganda, stealing funds intended for official Ugandan government business, and using another government employee to smuggle illicit goods, including drugs, gold, and wildlife, out of Uganda.

“These actions against Kale Kayihura underscore our 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,” the statement reads.

It further called on the Ugandan government to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly.

“We are targeting Uganda’s former Police Inspector General Kale Kayihura for using corruption and bribery to strengthen his political position, as units under his command committed serious human rights abuses,” said Sigal Mandelker, Treasury Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

He added that; “The U.S. government is committed to leveraging human rights and corruption authorities to target, disrupt, and counter those who engage in abuse and corruption around the world.”